The official press convention for UFC 279 descended into absolute mayhem and was shortly cancelled after an ‘absolute s***present’ behind the scenes the place rival fighters brawled backstage.
The Las Vegas press convention began over half an hour late with no discover or rationalization, till UFC boss Dana White opened the delayed press convention by declaring: “Absolute s***present again there.”
“There’s a lot of loopy s**t again there,” he added. The press convention lasted simply 5 minutes and featured solely two fighters earlier than White pulled the plug in chaotic scenes.
A combat broke out between rival camps backstage, which White later confirmed started between Khamzat Chimaev and Kevin Holland – the “catalysts” – and spiralled to incorporate different fighters.
“There have been a number of issues occurring on the similar time. It wasn’t only one factor that erupted,” he mentioned. “As soon as it began erupting, it was an entire s***present.”
4 of the six fighters scheduled to look on-stage on the press convention (Kevin Holland, Daniel Rodriguez, Nate Diaz, Khamzat Chimaev, Tony Ferguson, and Li Jingliang) had been concerned within the brawl, the UFC chief confirmed.
White informed reporters afterwards: “It received very bodily, a number of fighters received concerned.”
Holland took to Twitter to say he provided Chimaev a ‘free beard trim’: “Simply so everybody is aware of. I provided that clown a free beard trim. I don’t know anyplace within the US that might provide that service free! I’m exact I promise I might not knick him. At your service similar to the resort employees bro.”
“There was a lot of stuff earlier than we went out,” White mentioned, however added there have been MORE fights through the press convention. “That was why I ended it.”
Requested if he was caught in the midst of it, White mentioned: “Yeah, I used to be simply attempting to inform all people: ‘What the f*** are you doing. What’s occurring? Cease!’”
White confirmed no fighters had been injured, and added no fighters could be fined or penalised: “No guys, that is what we do. We’re within the combat enterprise. These items occur.”
White added that even UFC supervisor Tiki Ghosn was concerned within the mayhem.
“Tiki took a pair for the group and he’s not even on a group. Tiki took a pair water bottles to the top, a pair slaps, kicks.”
The UFC boss additionally revealed that Khamzat Chimaev and Nate Diaz’s groups comprised of over 100 folks backstage.
He confirmed that the weigh-ins and the principle occasion would go forward as deliberate, however with significantly elevated safety.
THE PRESS CONFERENCE
As an alternative of the standard format of getting all key fighters on stage, White declared the fighters would come out in pairs.
However solely Kevin Holland and Daniel Rodriguez got here out on stage for a quick interview earlier than the occasion was deserted totally “for everybody’s security,” as White mentioned.
White seemed fully frazzled and visibly livid, earlier than his private safety guard intervened. White appeared to inform him “F**ok it. Wrap. Wrap it.”
He informed the expectant crowd: “Yeah, this ain’t going to occur. I apologise all people. I’m in very bizarre waters right here. This has by no means occurred within the historical past of this firm. Belief me after I let you know that is the appropriate resolution not to do that press convention proper now.”
Boos rained down, and White couldn’t assist however agree with the followers’ livid response.
“I hear ya, I’m with ya. For everyone’s security, that is the appropriate resolution. I apologise.”
He later mentioned: “That is the craziest press convention we’ve ever had, that’s for positive… This can be a first and I assure you it will likely be the final.”
Common fighter Tony Ferguson later emerged to greet the gang to nice cheers.
Chimaev had informed ESPN earlier within the week he was able to combat Diaz and his group earlier than the principle occasion.
“In the event that they wanna combat earlier than (Saturday), f*ck the cash, brother, I’m gonna combat with them. I like to combat,” Chimaev informed ESPN. “I’ve been born for warfare. I’m inside a warrior, don’t care. When the fights come, you don’t care about cash or what’s behind it, simply combat.
“If he needs to combat there together with his group, I’ve like 20 guys with me. We’ll combat with all of the groups, . I hope so. I might love if it occurs, one thing loopy issues there. His group is outdated, brother. My group is contemporary. We kill this. His group nearly handicapped, brother.”
Initially revealed as UFC 279: Press conference abandoned after backstage brawl