Leon Edwards’ Coach Discusses Dana White Conversation Regarding Colby Covington

UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards was deeply affected by opponent Colby Covington‘s insult about his late father during the UFC 296 pre-fight press conference, leading to a shift in the buildup to the fight and sparking debate about the boundaries of trash talk in the sport.

Leon Edwards’ world shifted after UFC 296’s pre-fight presser. The UFC welterweight champ had been brushing off the constant trash talk from his opponent. But when Colby Covington insulted Edwards’ late father, everything changed. Edwards’ dad was killed when he was just 13, and Covington’s comments hit hard. Edwards confessed he was “crying with rage” afterwards. His coach, Dave Lovell, admitted he’d never seen Edwards like that before a fight.

Lovell spoke about it on The MMA Hour. “He was really hurt,” he said. “It took him by surprise. You could see it in his reaction on stage. It was a dirty, low blow. I’m not against a man selling a fight, but when you start attacking family, you’ve crossed a line. I thought Covington would’ve learned from when Masvidal confronted him. But he hasn’t, and one day he might say the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong time. The consequences could be severe.”

Edwards, 32, had the final say though. He defeated Covington in a one-sided decision at UFC 296, defending his welterweight title for the second time. But Covington’s comments sparked a debate in the MMA world. Did he cross a line? Is there even a line to cross?

Lovell believes there’s no room for Covington’s kind of talk in the sport. “I’m a father. If anything happened to me, I know how my boys would feel. If someone rubbed that in their faces, I know how they’d react. I feel for Leon. He grew up without a dad, and for someone to throw that at him, it’s gut-wrenching. I asked Dana White, ‘Where do you draw the line?’ He said, ‘You know what kind of scum you’re dealing with.’ But there has to be a line somewhere.”

Lovell continued, “If that’s the case, anyone can say anything. If we’re going to fight, I could dig up some dirt on your family, and then throw it in your face. Is that what we’re about now? Are we bringing the sport down to that level? That’s what hurt me.”

Lovell talked to Edwards’ brother, Fabian, after Covington’s comments. He also communicated with Edwards’ mother through Fabian. The goal was to keep Edwards focused on the fight. It worked. Edwards admitted UFC 296 was an emotional fight for him, but he got the job done.

Lovell said, “It hurt Leon a lot. He went a little bit within himself after that. I had to talk to him and the rest of the team. I told him, ‘Don’t let your emotions take over. If you do, he’s won. But go out there and fight. Be spiteful. Hurt him with everything you do.’ The game plan worked perfectly.”

Covington left the arena with ice packs on his knees, limping. He claimed it was one of the easiest fights he’s had. Lovell said, “Mission accomplished.”

But it wasn’t over for Team Edwards. As they waited for the official scorecards, Lovell gave Covington a piece of his mind. Things almost heated up again before Edwards and security stepped in. When asked what he said to Covington, Lovell laughed and said, “You don’t want to know. If it was ready to go, I was ready to go. All guns blazing. The old boy was ready to go.”


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