If you haven’t heard by now, the UFC 279 pre-fight press-conference was cancelled after a massive backstage melee said to have involved about a hundred people. Twitter obviously had a field day reacting to the madness, but more details have since come in about the incident.
According to a report from MMA Fighting, Khamzat Chimaev initiated the incident after kicking Kevin Holland backstage. After that scuffle was settled and Holland went on stage, there was another incident between Chimaev and Nate Diaz’s camp that reportedly involved water bottles being thrown.
Dana White also confirmed that the first altercation was between Chimaev and Holland, before it started escalating with the others. He also says that among those scheduled for the press conference, four of the six fighters and their camps were involved.
“All hell broke loose,” White said after the incident. “We stopped it, but we didn’t do a good job of not letting it happen.
“Yeah [it was Khamzat Chimaev and Kevin Holland that started it],” White said. “There were multiple things going on at the same time. It wasn’t just one thing that erupted and it happened. There were multiple things going on at the same time.
“So there was security over there, there was no security over there,” White continued. “There was no security over there cause everybody was dealing with the other thing and once it all started erupting, it was just a complete s—t show.”
White says Tiki Ghosn, a former UFC fighter turned manager was also involved in trying to settle things down.
“If it wasn’t for Tiki, we would have been in trouble,” White said. “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.”
White says the next steps will involve making sure this won’t happen again.
“No (there won’t be fines). This is what we do,” White said. “This is the business that we’re in. This is the fight business. These things happen. What we’ll do is we look at how this happened today, why were we unprepared for this, why we were not able to manage this backstage better than we did, and we’ll be better next time.”
“When you know that you have guys that don’t like each other, you make sure that they’re isolated, you have plenty of security around,” White explained. “You know how Nate and Khamzat are, they could have some words and we have enough people here to deal with it.
“What we didn’t have enough people for was everybody to start fighting. When everybody starts fighting and there was more than just fighting going on that security was dealing with. We weren’t prepared.”
For what it’s worth, Holland reacted to the reports of Chimaev kicking him.