Let's face it, Colby Covington is easy to hate. Particularly given that his job requires that he take punches to the face, it's a snap to daydream about leaping into the Octagon and doing it yourself. Such is the territory when you're a genuflecting spawn of the MAGA fever swamp whose verbal abuses would make the Player Haters' Ball sound like a giggly Hacky Sack circle at a DMB concert.
Yes, after slaying a plainly overmatched Robbie Lawler Saturday night in Newark as national dunderhead failsons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump looked on, Covington went into ragin' full-on POTUS bully mode. And even in the context of a ruthless, primal bloodsport, it was jarring.
Covington duly earned his victory, but it's impossible to fathom what could possibly have possessed this fully-matured adult to taunt his fallen foe by likening himself (and Donald Trump) to a train, replete with a stunningly foul reference to Matt Hughes, a UFC Hall of Famer who quite literally got hit by a train and nearly died?
If only it were enough to shove this aside as amateur hour; this isn't that at all. It's the stinking, dank gutter rhetoric of a 1970s DC Comics supervillain who found some lucky kryptonite stuck to the bottom of his shoe.
And in these generally terrifying times, Colby Covington is the love-to-hate-him bad guy we never knew we needed.
A Proud Boy vampire, his shrunken head totem, and a racist werewolf, each slowly drowning in hair gel from Gordon Gekko's strategic reserve, walk into a bar. If you only have time to give one of them the ol' three piece and a soda, whom do you choose? It's a veritable Sophie's Choice of runty gasbags.
Not to be lost in betwixt the Children of the Trumpian Corn, however, are the bookend exclamation points on the evening: first, Covington's sheer willingness to be hated by stepping out under the lights to the "YOU SUCK!" refrain made infamous by Kurt Angle and his jeering WWE detractors, and last, his sneering, boorish threats levied at Kamaru Usman, the man he's gunning for in a UFC welterweight division that's effectively at critical mass.
It's all of a piece: this is how you turn heel pro wrestling-style and stick the landing. And if it drives you freaking nuts, then the desired effect has been achieved.
Smack talk is one thing, but Covington, in the mania of the moment, was doing something else. And even the most cursory forensic analysis proves his shameless offensive against the Nigerian Nightmare wasn't just bluster meant for the ESPN cameras. He's fully committed to the art and science of being a butthole.
In so many ways -- seriously, pick any old one -- Colby Covington is the agonizing, face-punchy right-wing troll that's right in that sweet spot of being a cartoonishly villainous heel, yet dangerous enough to be taken much more seriously than we're comfortable reckoning with. He's at the vertex of Michelle Malkin and Eric Killmonger (right down to placing some African royalty in his crosshairs).
And as the year in the Ultimate Fighting Championship pivots toward a bang-bang cavalry charge, we ought to consider ourselves lucky to have such a gaping MAGA sucksack to root against as one.