Colby Covington, Ultimate Fighting Championship welter weight champion, meets with trainees of 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry Regiment before they begin their pugil stick and combatives finale before graduation. Covington visited the battalion April 5, 2022, to train with and give give professional advice on how to become a stronger athlete to the trainees, cadre, drill sergeants and support staff. (Photo Credit: Alexandra Shea)

Chaos comes to Fort Jackson

By Alexandra Shea, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

Ultimate Fighting Championship mixed martial arts welterweight champion Colby “Chaos” Covington, also known as the King of Miami, temporarily left his throne and kingdom to travel to Fort Jackson to spend a few days speaking, training and coaching Soldiers, trainees and cadre members in combative techniques. He also gave insider advice on become a stronger athlete.

“He embodies the Warrior Ethos,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Stuart Sword, 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry Regiment. “He traveled here on his own dime to spend time with Soldiers.”

Covington’s alter-ego isCHAOS2.jpg known for his patriotism. He often sports the American Flag while entering the octagon, wearing a flag pin while doing interviews, even going so far as to have his rendition of the flag tattooed on his left arm.

Though a part of his stage performance, the blows he delivers are quite real. So is his patriotism.

“What brings me to Fort Jackson is seeing the people I look up to,” Covington said. “They are my role models, the heroes of law enforcement and military.”

Covington is no stranger to the military, his grandfather flew military aircraft during the Vietnam and Korean Wars. Covington had many friends growing up, but one closest to him became a service member as well and can still be found standing in the Chaos corner supporting him.

“There is a first sergeant (Steven) here and he’s been one of my best friends since were like 10 years old,” Covington said. “He has made it possible for me to come out here and tour some of these Army bases. To have someone like Steven, who’s been a lifelong friend to me, in my corner for my Ultimate Fighting Championship fights, I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from him and got a lot of love for my brother.”

It is through this brotherly bond that Sword was able to reach out to the Chaos camp and arrange for Covington to visit Team Jackson and train with 1-61 trainees during their morning physical training and later in the day during their end of cycle pugil stick and combatives tournament.

“He just had his fight and is in recovery right now so it worked out great for Fort Jackson and himself,” Sword said. “It’s a big boost for morale and of discipline. He described what it is to be disciplined as a person, personal life and Soldier.”

Covington spent the morning training like a Soldier with the trainees who graduated shortly after the visit. While many aspects of Army physical training is similar to his own training, some was not as familiar for him. Before taking lunch, Covington meet members of Team Jackson at Perez Fitness Center where he posed for selfies and photos, talked with Soldiers, civilians and their Family members, and autographed photos and memorabilia.

The last event of the day, Covington attended one of the training cycle’s final events that were familiar territory for him.

Huddled under a large canopied pit as rain poured down, trainees faced off for their final chance to prove their warrior strengths with pugil sticks and three minute combative rounds. Regardless of the winner, Covington talked to each competitor to give them professional feedback on their performance and tips for future bouts.

“I battle for sport, these guys battle for their lives every day,” Covington said. “They battle for our country and keeping us safe. They motivate me.”

As the top champions emerged and the event ended, Sword transitioned the tournament into a time of recognition by announcing the Drill Sergeant of the Cycle and Honor Platoon. Covington helped with the award presentations and photos.

The final recognition of the day was reserved for several veterans assigned to 1-61 when it was still a part of the 1st Brigade, 5th Division during the Vietnam War. The veterans were invited to join the battalion for the day to reconnect with fellow unit members of the past and present. Reverently, Covington stood silently nodding his head in agreement as each veteran was designated as an honorary member of the 61st Infantry Regiment.

As the last order was announced, the entire pit of trainees, cadre members and drill sergeants erupted with clapping and chanting of, “1-61, 1-61, 1-61.”

After several minutes of chanting and clapping, the day came to an end. Trainees returned to their company areas to prepare for Family Day events the next day as the King of Miami prepared to return to his royal duties in Southern Florida.

“To come out here and see my heroes and legends putting it on the line for this combatives tournament is a dream come true,” Covington said. “We wouldn’t have the freedoms and opportunities we have without them. I wouldn’t be able to fight in the UFC without these guys. God bless the military, America and law enforcement.”