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Scuffle scraps UFC 279 press conference

Sportsnaut
Apr 9, 2022; Jacksonville, Florida, USA;  Khamzat Chimaev (blue gloves) after a fight against Gilbert Burns (red gloves) during UFC 273 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

The press conference for UFC 279 in Las Vegas was called off Thursday after fighters Kevin Holland and Khamzat Chimaev got into a scuffle backstage, UFC president Dana White announced to the media in attendance.

Holland and Chimaev aren’t even scheduled to fight one another, as Chimaev (11-0) is set to take on Nate Diaz (21-13) in the main card. Holland (23-7) will face off against Daniel Rodriguez (16-2).

“Yeah, this ain’t going to happen,” White told reporters after Holland and Chimaev exchanged words and got into a physical altercation. “I apologize, everybody … This has never happened in the history of this company. Let me tell you this is the right decision not to do this press conference right now.”

“Yeah, I hear you,” he continued as boos rained down from those in attendance. “I’m with you. But for everybody’s safety, this is the right decision. I apologize.”

The UFC posted White’s initial comments to Twitter.

White indicated later on that more security will now become standard at press conferences, and that the UFC will be prepared to intercept further confrontation at weigh-ins and before the fights themselves.

None of the fighters suffered injuries and none of the fights at UFC 279 on Saturday are in jeopardy as a result of the incident.

–Field Level Media