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UFC 279 Press Conference called off due to a massive backstage 'scuffle' between the fighters

For the first time in UFC history, a press conference before a fight had to be postponed due to an altercation between Khamzat Chimaev, Kevin Holland, and Nate Diaz backstage that descended into physical aggression.

The last-minute cancellation of Thursday's UFC 279 news conference was mainly caused by heated exchanges and physical altercations between the competitors. Kevin Holland and Khamzat Chimaev, who both have fights on the card but aren't up against one another, are allegedly the root of the problem that prompted White and the UFC to call off the conference before it even got going.

The circumstances surrounding this pay-per-view main event couldn't be crazier if Saturday's UFC 279 main event proves to be Nate Diaz's farewell trip to the Octagon after 15 erratic years.

There was a protracted delay at first, but this is standard procedure when celebrities like Nate Diaz are involved. As Diaz, Khamzat Chimaev, Tony Ferguson, Li Jingliang, Kevin Holland, and Daniel Rodriguez were set to arrive, the UFC personnel also moved the name tags about.

The last two, though, were the only ones to show up. White welcomed them onto the platform and informed the audience that the fighters would initially enter the ring in pairs. Holland and Rodriguez answered a few questions before facing each other off after and White neglected to make any meaningful comments about what had happened.

Before leaving the platform, White told the jeering crowd that the choice was the best one for "everyone's safety." White added that when Chimaev and Holland originally clashed, "things went south" and that Diaz and Chimaev had "100 people" with them backstage. According to reports, Diaz and his camp ultimately became involved in the argument, and the sheer volume of participants overcame the security measures in place backstage.

He said "S--- show. An absolute s--- show back there," White said as he canceled the event. "Ask them questions. There's lots of crazy s--- going on back there. ... 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."

White did state that the event on Saturday will proceed as scheduled and that no fighters will be punished.

Press conferences for the UFC have a reputation for getting out of hand. Conor McGregor has had several close calls during news conferences, most notably the one before his matchup with Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in 2018. However, nothing had previously led to a cancellation before Thursday's spate of incidents.


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