Dana White cancels UFC 279 pre-fight press conference amid alleged backstage altercations

UFC 279

Tonight’s much-anticipated UFC 279 pre-fight press conference, featuring welterweights, Khamzat Chimaev, and Nate Diaz has been officially cancelled by UFC president, Dana White – who cited a “sh*t show” incident backstage, with rumors circulating regarding a potential altercation between fighters and camps. 

Slated to headline UFC 279 on Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada – Chimaev, who most recently defeated Gilbert Burns back in April, draws the exiting Diaz, who is set to complete his contractual obligations following the event.

Ahead of tonight’s awaited UFC 279 press conference, the promotion were expected to field a stage featuring Kevin Holland, Daniel Rodriguez, Li Jingliang, Tony Ferguson, as well as Chimaev and Diaz to field questions from assembled media.

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However, upon the eventual start of the conference, White confirmed that the promotion would be bringing out fighters to field questions two at a time, with Holland and Rodriguez first appearing – amid a suspected backstage incident. 

Dana White calls a halt to tonight’s UFC 279 pre-fight press event

With Holland and Rodriguez facing off and exiting the stage, White waited in anticipation of Ferguson and Jingliang, before confirming that they would be putting an end to the press conference – the first time in promotional antiquity, in fact – citing his concerns for safety.

“Yeah, this ain’t gonna happen,” Dana White said. “I apologize everybody. I am in very weird waters here. This has never happened in the history of this company, so. Trust me when I tell you this is the right decision – not to do this press conference right now. And – yeah, I hear you – I’m with you. But for everybody’s safety, this is the right decision, alright? I apologise. Thanks for coming.”  

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As the stream came to a close on the promotion’s official YouTube channel, the aforenoted former interim lightweight champion, Ferguson emerged – shouting “next question” before launching a baseball into the crowd for cheering fans. 

According to a report from MMA journalist, Ariel Helwani, the aforenoted Holland and Chimaev are alleged to have been involved in an altercation backstage ahead of the UFC 279 press event, before an altercation spilled over into the team of Diaz.

“Early word is Khamzat Chimaev and Kevin Holland initially got into it and the whole situation got out of hand,” Ariel Helwani tweeted. “Then the situation spilled over to Nate’s (Diaz) team. Lots of chaos. More coming in. Developing.” 

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“Total chaos, I’m told,” Helwani tweeted. “Not enough security. Fighters too close. Could have been much worse but it got out of hand quick between multiple camps.”