Former UFC interim welterweight champion Colby Covington appeared recently on BJ Penn Radio, and discussed his departure in May from ATT.
“My brand was being held back being at American Top Team,” said Covington, as transcribed by Jason Kindschy for BJPenn.com. “I have nothing but respect for Dan Lambert. The guy’s been nothing but a mentor and a good friend, but you cross the line when you try and tell me what I can and cannot do in the professional fighting business. We’re getting locked in an Octagon to kill each other, take each other’s brain cells, send each other to the morgue, and you’re worried about some words that I might be saying? It sounds a little petty and a little childish, and I didn’t have time for that anymore. I got big business to take care of.”
"[ATT's Covington-inspired No Trash Talk policy] was completely the ending of our relationship as a team and being a part of that team anymore. You’re not going to tell me what I can and cannot do. Your team’s name is American Top Team. Just think about that for a second, American Top Team. What are our constitutional rights in America? Do we not have freedom of speech?”
“It’s not fair to try and take someone’s voice away and their platform and try and tell them what they can and cannot do, especially in the fighting business. It’s already an ugly business as it is. Then to be mad about some words when we’re getting locked in a cage to kill each other in our underwear on Saturday nights, it’s just a little pathetic, and it’s not right, but I have no ill will towards it. I think Dan had to do what he had to do, and he felt that it was right to implement that policy for the team.”
"A lot of [ATT fighters] were complaining. A lot of people were up in their feelings. They don’t understand it. They don’t understand the psychology that goes into it. There’s a reason that no one can do what I can do. There’s a reason why people actually are drawn to me. There’s a reason I’m the people’s champ. I fight for the people. I speak for the people. I think people like that I’m real and I stand up. I’m not afraid to say the cold, hard truth. If you’re not okay with the brutal, honest truth, that’s your problem. Facts don’t care about your feelings. They’re still facts.”
“I don’t want to be a distraction. I’ve always been all about teams and putting in the work and helping everybody. I’d help the amateurs. I’d help anybody in the gym that was there. For them to try and tell me to put limits on my career and what I can do, was just, It wasn’t right. This is the best thing that could ever happen, to form Colby Covington Incorporated and just start on my own way. Now I don’t have to worry about how people feel. I do what I want when I want, and that’s the motto at Colby Covington Inc, is that we do what we want when we want, and no one’s going to stop us. If they got something to say, come meet us in the Octagon.”
This has been a great transition. I feel free. I feel like I had cuffs on me before and I was being weighed down. Now I just feel completely free. I’ve never felt this sense of energy before. I feel unstoppable. I really do know that when I come back, it’s going to be a whole different me, a Colby Chaos Covington 2.0, and it’s going to be a completely different look the next time you see me in the Octagon.”
For the record, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution reference by Covington protects freedom of speech and more from government encroachment. It does not mean anyone in the country can say anything to anyone with no repercussions. For example, if you trash talk your own teammates relentlessly and you are removed from the team, your freedom of speech rights have not been violated.