This is according to the president of the UFC Dana Whitewho confirmed that the initial incident between Shemayev and the Netherlands started problems that only escalated after he took to the stage to start the press conference at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
According to several people who witnessed the accident, Chimayev started the altercation when he kicked Holland backstage. The alleged Chemayev attack is what then turns into a much bigger issue as security scrambles to get everything under control. The people who spoke to MMA Fighting about the incident requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly.
“yes [it was Khamzat Chimaev and Kevin Holland that started it]’” White told reporters behind the scenes. “There were multiple things going on at the same time. It wasn’t just one thing that broke out and happened. There were multiple things happening at the same time.”
Shemayev and Holland traded insults in interviews and social media in the weeks leading up to UFC 279, and reportedly got into a close brawl at UFC Vegas 21 in 2021.
“So there was security there, there was no security,” White continued. “There was no safety there because everyone was dealing with the other thing and once it all started looking up, it was like it was an exciting show.”
White blamed insecurity along with the sheer number of people behind the scenes for causing the situation to spiral out of control. Added a former UFC fighter-turned-athletic director Tiki Ghosn It actually helped calm things down by getting between the warring teams.
“If it wasn’t for Tiki, we’d be in trouble,” White said. “Tiki took a couple for the team and he is not even on the team. Tiki took two bottles of water to the head, slaps, kicks. Thanks Tiki.”
Multiple sources also confirmed that once Holland took to the stage to start the press conference with his opponent Daniel Rodriguez That a second quarrel broke out between Shemayev and Diaz and their teams.
It’s not clear if any further fighting broke out, but water bottles were thrown between the Chimaev and Diaz camps, according to sources, which was at least part of the reason why White eventually called off the press conference before things got out of hand.
“When you know you have men who don’t like each other, you make sure that you isolate them, that you have a lot of security around,” White explained. “You know how Nate and Pampers are, they could have some words and we have enough people here to deal with it.
“What we didn’t have enough people was for everyone to start fighting. When everyone started fighting and there was more than just a fight security was dealing with. We weren’t ready.”
The security that White promised will be enhanced at future press conferences, and he also plans to address the number of people allowed to accompany fighters to events like this.
In the end, White stated that no one was hurt during the melee and the fights would progress as scheduled Saturday night. He added that he did not plan to impose any penalties on the fighters involved in the various melees, but he definitely wanted to prevent anything like this from happening again.
“That’s what we do,” White said. “This is the business we are in. This is the combat action. These things happen.”
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