UFC cancels press conference for the first time in company’s history after Holland and Chimaev get into an altercation

Dana White pulled an unprecedented move earlier today after a series of backstage scuffles threatened to compromise the safety of everyone attending UFC 279 press conference.


UFC president Dana White forced the mid-session cancellation of the pre-fight news conference for UFC 279 on Tuesday.

White told the gathering, “This ain’t going to happen. I apologize, everybody. I am in very weird waters here. This has never happened in the history of this company.”

“Trust me when I tell you this is the right decision not to do this press conference right now. For everybody’s safety, this is the right decision. I apologize. Thanks for coming.”

White explained subsequently

“You know, it was multiple crazy…You know, I don’t even know what to call it. How many years? 22 years. How? However long I’ve been doing this. We’ve never had an incident like today. All hell broke loose out here. We did a… I don’t know. I don’t even know how, you know, we stopped it, but we didn’t do a good job of not letting it out.”

According to reports Chimaev confronted Kevin Holland who made a provocative video about him, saying that he will shave Chimaev’s beard.

Chimaev confronted him and allegedly kicked him to the chest.

As per Ariel Helwani longtime MMA athlete turned manager Tiki Ghosn was the one to break up the altercation. However Diaz’ crew would come in promptly and take offense to the fact Tiki was standing with Chimaev, at which point they allegedly started hurling plastic bottles at them. Chimaev was unaccompanied at the time. Tiki was hit but is in no danger.

‘So here’s what happened about an hour or so ago in Las Vegas, prior to the UFC 279 press conference. As you guys know, press conference, there’s usually a curtain behind the curtain is where the octagon is and people are hanging around before going out.’ – Helwani explained

‘Well, before going out behind the curtain there is Khamzat Chimaev and his team. There’s Kevin Holland and his team. They’ve been exchanging some words as of late and they started to exchange some words and they got very close to each other and were kind of pushing each other and whatnot. No real physical activity, so to speak, in terms of like serious kicks, punches landed.’

‘But there was definitely, you know, there was definitely some physical oddity, if you will. Now, Tiki Ghosn, who is a long time MMA fighter, now turned MMA, a manager, happened to be back there and got in between them and broke it up and was like, actually the guy. There was hardly any security. A few police officers, but way too many people, way too many team members and just fighters.’

‘So he was actually the guy, as Dana White said in his press scrum, he was the guy who who broke the whole thing up, believe it or not. And then Nate and his team show up. And as the whole thing between Holland and Chimaev dies down, they see Tiki standing next to Chimaev… are kind of confused about that.’

‘Unhappy about that words, you know exchanged things, exchanged back and forth. And then all of a sudden water bottles are being thrown. And I guess there were some people who were upset about, you know, where Tiki was standing and the things that were being said back and forth.’

‘Then once that kind of escalated, everyone was finally pulled apart and they decided to cancel the press conference. ‘

White promised that despite everything, the show would continue this weekend.

Kevin Holland and Khamzat Chimaev were responsible for the commotion backstage, according to Dana White.

Kevin Holland will compete against Daniel Rodriguez. The most anticipated event of the evening will be between Khamzat Chimaev and UFC star Nate Diaz.

Kevin Holland claims that he “offered that clown (Chimaev) a beard trim”. Chimaev, in the meanwhile, provides an alternative account of what happened.

He also said: “I told them not to play with us. Kevin (Holland) and Nate (Diaz) got what they deserved”.

Dana White told the media about the events that took place. “There were multiple things going on at the same time. It wasn’t just one thing that erupted and it happened. So there was security over there, there was no security over there.”

“There was no security over there cause everybody was dealing with the other thing and once it all started erupting, it was just a s*** show.”

White praised former UFC fighter turned athlete management Tiki Ghosn for handling the situateion. He said, “If it wasn’t for Tiki, we would have been in trouble. Tiki took a couple for the team and he’s not even on the team. Tiki took a couple of water bottles to the head, a couple slaps, kicks. Thanks Tiki.”