A lot happened in the last 48 hours leading up to UFC 279. But the major shake-up took place during the early morning weigh-ins the day before fight night when Khamzat Chimaev failed to make weight for his scheduled welterweight headliner against Nate Diaz.
The man usually tasked to oversee the early weigh-ins as its emcee is UFC play-by-play man Jon Anik, who didn’t know what was going on at the time. Thanks to the inside information of fellow broadcaster Joe Rogan, he was able to make the necessary adjustments. But according to him, he was “sworn to secrecy.”
“I was sworn to secrecy by the great Joe Rogan, who called me at 9:30 in the morning and suggested that this was what Dana White was trying to do. I appreciated that because, at that point in time, I was in the dark,” Anik told MMA Fighting.
“Every time I would come out [during official weigh-ins], the media was looking for something and I’m saying, ‘Oh, no, Irene Aldana and Macy Chiasson are fighting at a catchweight at 140 pounds,’ and [everyone] was looking at me like, ‘Is that it, bro? Is that the update right now?’”
Anik’s been around for many years now and has seen some of the craziest things unfold. But according to him, UFC 279 takes the cake, so far.
“It was wild. My enthusiasm for this new fight card quickly went from a little bit of anxiety with some of the voice-over work that needed to be done with immediacy, but all’s well that ends well.
“For better or for worse, our whole live production team is well conditioned to a circumstance like this, and I would agree with people that that would say — at least from a competition standpoint for the most part — that the card took on a more competitive look after the fact.
“In terms of wildness during fight week, UFC 279 will be hard to top.”
The event turned out to be a success, at least according to UFC president Dana White, who claimed it was the company’s 25th consecutive sell-out.