I’m not a big conspiracy theory guy, but here’s one that could have a kernel of truth to it – and it’s relevant to our sport.
Yesterday, former champ Rafael dos Anjos appeared on Ariel Helwani’s “The MMA Hour” to rap about his upcoming bout against Colby Covington.
Everyone hates Colby Covington. Even Colby Covington hates Colby Covington. But “RDA” thinks that, because of Conor McGregor’s antics in the days before UFC 223, the UFC was prompted to move Dos Anjos’ fight against Covington from UFC 224 in Brazil to UFC 225 in Chicago, IL. Why? For security purposes. Because if they couldn’t stop McGregor from going buckwild, how could they possibly muster the security essential to keep thousands of Brazilians from pouring gasoline on Covington and setting him on fire?
It’s an… interesting theory.
“I flew to New York to have that fight announced in Rio, but I think it was [switched] because of that Conor thing,” dos Anjos said Monday on The MMA Hour. “Like, after that incident with the bus and all of that, I think the UFC was kinda afraid. Colby’s been talking a lot of crap about Brazilians and if something happened there — if the security couldn’t hold one guy, how can they hold a Brazilian crowd [going] crazy because of the stuff that this guy’s been saying?”
Covington has become a polarizing figure in Brazil because of his anti-Brazilian rhetoric. “RDA” believes the UFC’s desire avoid another security concern after the havoc McGregor at UFC 223 led to the switch from Rio de Janeiro to Chicago.
Dos Anjos said he found out about the promotion’s decision upon landing in Brooklyn just hours before the press conference. He admitted that he was disappointed to learn that he wouldn’t be able to compete in his hometown for the first time since 2008.
“I have to say yes, [I was disappointed] a little bit, especially because of the whole story of the thing,” dos Anjos said. “Like, he went there, he went to Brazil, went to Sao Paulo, he beat Demian Maia there, and after he’s talking a lot of crap about the Brazilians. So to have this fight in Rio would be a good story, especially getting the belt there, it would be really cool. But, I think, the one thing, Rio, it’s not Sao Paulo. The crowds in Sao Paulo, it’s different than the crowds in Rio. Rio people are more savage.