Khamzat Chimaev Breaks Silence on Skirmish That Canceled UFC 279 Presser

UFC, Khamzat Chimaev

Getty Khamzat Chimaev looks on after his welterweight fight against Gilbert Burns.

UFC star Khamzat Chimaev has broken his silence on the scuffle that caused the cancellation of the UFC 279 press conference.

Chimaev is scheduled for his first main event bout against Nate Diaz this Saturday, Sep. 10. Diaz is looking to complete the last fight on his current deal with the UFC and goes into the bout in what could be his last outing under the banner. The Stockton native expressed his desire to explore free agency and launched his own fight promotion company, Real Fight Inc.

Ahead of the highly-anticipated matchup, the top-ranked welterweight made headlines for nearly coming to blows with former middleweight title challenger Paulo Costa at the UFC Performance Institute. “Borrachinha” was interrupted by Chimaev while working on his grappling chops with Diaz’s teammate, Jake Shields.

Kevin Holland, who is also on the main card, re-ignited his feud with Chimaev following the incident and bashed “Borz” for his actions, labeling him a “wannabe street” guy.

During the pre-fight press conference on Thursday, UFC president Dana White announced that the presser needed to be aborted for the first time in the history of the company. He did not give many details and pinned it down to a “s*** show” backstage. Rumors of a clash between the teams of Holland, Diaz, and Chimaev started making rounds, with some claiming as many as 100 people were involved.

Chimaev finally shared his side of the story in a brief video hinting at what happened behind the scenes.

“Told them not to play with us, Kevin got what he deserved, so did Diaz,” Chimaev said via Spinnin Backfist.


Holland gave a cryptic update after the incident

Although the event eventually got called off, Holland got the opportunity to take to the stage with his opponent, Daniel Rodriguez. White initially informed the audience that the event could proceed in a unique manner by bringing only the paired fighters at a time, but failed to do so after things escalated.

Holland later shared a clip explaining what happened, indicating a clash with Chimaev might have occurred.

“Just so everyone knows. I offered that clown a free beard trim,” Holland wrote. “I don’t know anywhere in the US that would offer that service free! I am precise I promise I would not knick him. At your service just like the hotel staff bro.”


White Issued a Statement Promising More Security

White was not pleased to hear the loud boos from the fans who showed up for the presser and boiled the rare event down to a gap in the promotion’s security setup. He also lauded Tiki Ghosn, former fighter-turned-manager, for stepping in at the right time to avoid a situation that could have been much worse.

“If it wasn’t for Tiki, we would have been in big trouble,” White told ESPN. “Tiki took a couple for the team and he wasn’t on the team.”

“This is what we do,” White said. “This is the business we’re in. This is the fight business. These things happen. What we do is look at how this happened today — why were we unprepared for this? Why were we not able to manage this backstage better than we did? And we’ll be better next time we do a press conference. This will never happen to us again.”

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