Thursday’s UFC press conference had an abrupt ending due to fighters getting into a physical altercation backstage.
A press conference held ahead of UFC 279 this weekend did not go as planned due to events occurring behind the scenes. An altercation backstage between fighters Kevin Holland and Khamzat Chimaev caused the event to suddenly end, per a report from Marc Raimondi of ESPN.
Chimaev reportedly approached Holland backstage and initiated a physical confrontation by kicking him. The fight was separated by fellow fighter Li Jingliang and former fighter turned MMA manager Tiki Ghosn.
Ghosn was reportedly hit by strikes while in the process of breaking up the scuffle.
Chimaev and Holland are both scheduled to appear at this weekend’s UFC 279 event, although they are booked to face different opponents. Nobody reportedly needed medical attention after the incident.
Neither fighter will be punished for their involvement in the brawl, UFC President Dana White told ESPN.
UFC initially hoped to hold the press conference despite chaos occurring behind the scenes. Instead of having all main card fighters on stage at once, the promotion hoped to continue the presser with only one pairing of fighters present at a time.
Holland and opponent Daniel Rodriguez were the first to take the stage. After them, Li Jingliang and Tony Ferguson were expected to appear next. But as they started to make their way to the stage, the call was made the end the event.
“Trust me when I tell you this is the right decision – not to do this press conference right now,” said UFC President White. “For everybody’s safety, this is the right decision. I apologize.”
UFC 279 is still scheduled to proceed with 13 bouts in total, as originally planned. Chimaev will headline the card, facing veteran Nate Diaz in a five-round contest.