While the welterweight contenders had publicly avoided conflict until just recently, both Masvidal and Covington now claim that they haven’t been close for quite some time but each has a much different story on how the bridges were burned.
Covington previously explained that jealousy over his rapid rise up the welterweight ranks put him at odds with Masvidal on a personal level as well as when they were training together at American Top Team in Florida.
Now Masvidal has fired back with claims that Covington failed to pay one of his coaches that helped Covington as he prepared for his interim title fight against Rafael dos Anjos last June.
“He ripped off my coach, that was his coach. We were with him until his title fight. After he won the title, he owed him a certain amount of money, didn’t pay him,” Masvidal said on Thursday when appearing on the ‘Dan LeBatard Show’. “I said if you don’t pay him I’m going to f—k you up. My coach got in between it, it doesn’t have to be like this, let it slide, since thing I ain’t talked to the dude.
“It’s been about a year and some change. It is what it is. All these words they do have consequences because this guy used to sleep on my couch, used to eat off me cause I was the one with the sponsors. He was just still relatively an amateur and I was helping this guy out. It hurts that he would do that in a way just for a like on Facebook, just for a retweet on Twitter, he’s doing that, to get you and me talking about him.”
Masvidal didn’t name the coach involved in the situation, although he and Covington share a lot of the same staff while working out of the gym based in Coconut Creek, Fla.
Until that incident, Masvidal says he was close friends with Covington but that all ended following that particular altercation.
“We were [friends] until he ripped off my coach and since then I ain’t talked to him,” Masvidal said. “He’s mad because people don’t care to see him fight. They want to see him lose. That’s what they tune into. He does this whole heel thing because he couldn’t get people to regularly watch his fights so then he said if I go over the top, create this persona, people will hate me, then people will tune in.
“People do tune in but it’s not as much as he would want and you can tell by the way that he’s talking. Bringing up chicks. Why do you kiss and tell? Were you not raised by gentlemen? Who cares if you are or not banging chicks. Who cares? What the hell?”
Masvidal, who faces Nate Diaz in the UFC 244 main event in November, also took a dig at Covington’s drawing power after his last fight against Robbie Lawler in August only received modest ratings on television.
“I don’t think it sells fights,” Masvidal said about Covington’s persona. “If you go look at the people that tuned into his last fight, he has the lowest watched ESPN MMA event. I don’t know if that mathematically transgresses or what. We’re making him famous right now.”
It’s entirely possible that Masvidal and Covington could cross paths inside the Octagon in the near future considering where they both stand in the rankings right now.
Then again according to Masvidal, he might have a private chat with Covington in the gym one day soon if they happen to run into each other.
“I can’t let this punk come in here talking,” Masvidal said. “He’ll be in the gym, I’ll walk in the gym, guess who leaves right away through the back door? Take a wild guess everybody.”