A backstage altercation forced UFC president Dana White to call off Thursday’s UFC 279 Press Conference.
UFC 279 will take place this Saturday inside T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada. The event will be headlined by the Khamzat Chimaev vs. Nate Diaz showdown.
White was to hold a press conference at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. However, the UFC president was forced to cancel it following multiple backstage altercations.
Per ESPN’s Marc Raimondi, White told the media that Chimaev and Kevin Holland engaged in an altercation which White described as “a complete (expletive) show.” Holland will face Daniel Rodriguez at UFC 279.
Raimondi heard from sources that Chimaev delivered “a front kick” to Holland. Tiki Ghosn, welterweight fighter Li Jingliang and security pulled Chimaev away.
Citing sources, Raimondi also reported “some members of Diaz’s team threw water bottles at Ghosn and Chimaev’s team.” White won’t discipline any of the fighters but promised it “will never happen to us again,” Raimondi added.
This certainly isn’t the first UFC media day-related incident that went sideways. At UFC 223 media day, Conor McGregor entered the Barclays Center with more than a dozen friends and vandalized the bus that was carrying his rival, Khabib Nurmagomedov. White later announced that McGregor was stripped of the UFC lightweight championship.
McGregor would eventually turn himself into the New York Police Department to face charges over criminal mischief. McGregor pleaded guilty and was ordered to perform five days of community service.
The main card for UFC 279 will also feature Jingliang vs. Tony Ferguson, Ion Cuțelaba vs. Johnny Walker and Macy Chiasson vs. Irene Aldana. The preliminary card has four announced bouts: Chris Barnett vs. Jake Collier, Anton Turkalj vs. Jailton Almeida, Jamie Pickett vs. Denis Tiuliulin and Julian Erosa vs .Hakeem Dawodu.
The ensuing UFC show, UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Song, will take place one week later at UFC Apex in Enterprise, Nevada.