UFC cancels press event after Chechen star involved in backstage brawls (VIDEO) – Reuters

The UFC was forced to cancel its UFC 279 press conference at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Thursday after what President Dana White described as a “shitty show” ensued when several fights took place between the fighters backstage.

White tried to keep the media event going and planned to bring up the six main fighters who were to speak in pairs.

As middleweight contenders Kevin Holland and Daniel Rodriguez spoke to reporters about their fight, White had to cancel the event altogether.

As White explained, this was due to the clashes between Holland and Khamzat Chimaev plus Chimaev’s opponent in the main event, Nate Diaz, and veteran-turned-agent Tiki Ghosn.

“It was a complete shit show,” White said.

Although they won’t be fighting on Saturday’s card, the fact that Chimaev and Holland faced off against each other comes as no surprise given that they’ve clashed on social media and in separate interviews across the country. recent history.

This week Holland questioned Chimaev’s credentials and suggested the 28-year-old is wrong for acting friendly behind closed doors but acting tough when the camera is rolling.

“He only does that kind of extra ‘budding’ street stuff when the media is around,” said Holland.

According to sources who spoke to ESPN, Sweden-based Chechen Chimaev went backstage in the Netherlands, which led to a scuffle between the men and those nearby trying to separate them.

Chimaev then allegedly hit Holland with a front kick and was dragged away by a suit-and-booted Li Jingliang – who had perfected his English in order to speak in front of a crowd ahead of his fight with Tony Ferguson – before Holland allegedly gave the hunting down his attacker.

On Twitter, Holland addressed the line saying: “Just so everyone knows. I offered this clown a free beard trim. I don’t know of any place in the US that would offer this service for free!

“I’m precise, I promise not to beat him up. At your service like hotel staff, man.” he added, in reference to a 2020 dig of Chimaev when he joked that Holland was a member of hotel staff.

Sharing a tweet from Ariel Helwani, Holland also denied that Chimaev kicked him by remark: “That’s weird, I didn’t feel anything. UFC Stats Bot, please update this as a failed attempt via Chimaev.”

Ghosn was also in the mix, with White saying it was a good job the 45-year-old was there to help.

Later, however, Diaz saw Ghosn with Chimaev and thought he was part of Chimaev’s entourage.

This led to Diaz’s camp yelling at Ghosn and then throwing water bottles at him and Chimaev’s team, with White confirming how some of the objects hit Ghosn in the head and he was also slapped and kicks.

Additionally, footage on social media showed clashes continued in the lobby after the press conference was called off.

β€œIf it hadn’t been for Tiki, we would have been in big trouble,” White explained. “Tiki took a few for the team and he wasn’t on the team.”

In an effort to avoid a repeat of such incidents, White promised that UFC press conferences will have more security in the future, and Saturday’s weigh-ins and card will also be better prepared.

Trouble aside, no one will be disciplined for their part in the scuffles and none of the fights at UFC 279 have been compromised.

“This is what we do,” said White. “That’s the business we’re in.

“It’s the business of fighting. These things happen. What we do is watch how it went today – why weren’t we prepared for this? Why didn’t we been able to handle this backstage better than we did?” White posed.

“And we’ll be better the next time we do a press conference. It’ll never happen to us again,” he promised.


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