The investigation, which began after a brawl backstage at UFC 279, angered Dana White

AN INVESTIGATION has been launched following a brawl backstage when tempers flared between Khamzat Chimaev, Kevin Holland and Nate Diaz ahead of UFC 279.

Chimaev, 28, was scheduled to face UFC legend Diaz, 37, in what is believed to be the Stockton-born southpaw’s final outing in the company with his expiring contract.

Chmaev missed weight by seven and a half pounds before his fight with DiazCredit: Getty
Diaz entered under the weight limit, but his opponent was replaced with Tony Ferguson

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Diaz entered under the weight limit, but his opponent was replaced with Tony FergusonCredit: AP
Chimaev instead faced Kevin Holland and tensions flared backstage ahead of the pre-fight press conference

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Chimaev instead faced Kevin Holland and tensions flared backstage ahead of the pre-fight press conferenceCredit: AP
Dana White was left furious by the news of a brawl backstage

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Dana White was left furious by the news of a brawl backstageCredit: Twitter / MainEventTV

But the Swede missed the weight by a full seven-and-a-half pounds, leading some to accuse him of intentionally coming in heavy to get a scrap.

A late shuffle saw Diaz rise and beat Tony Ferguson, while Chimaev forced Holland to submit.

But before the fighters entered the Octagon, tensions flared at a pre-fight press conference.

It is assumed that Chimaev kicked the opponent Holland.

Diaz and his team are also believed to be involved in throwing plastic bottles.

The dispute infuriated UFC boss Dana White to the point where the regular event was canceled for the first time in the company’s history.

There will also be an investigation by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

White described the row as a “s**tshow” before adding: “That’s not going to happen, I’m sorry everyone, I’m in very strange waters here.

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“This has never happened in the history of the company.

“Trust me when I tell you, it was the right decision not to do this press conference right now.

“(Crowd boos) I hear you, I’m with you, but for everyone’s safety it’s the right decision, okay, I’m sorry. Thanks for coming.”

A statement from the NSAC read: “Nevada State Athletic Commission Chairman Stephen J. Klubek and CEO Jeff Mullen are aware that the UFC’s press conference on Thursday, September 8, 2022, was canceled midway through the event.

“Initial reports indicate that there was an altercation before and during the press conference, possibly involving licensed fighters and their associates.

“The chairman has been in communication with UFC executives regarding the events of September 8th. The UFC is currently working with the Nevada Athletic Commission on a full investigation into this incident.

“If the Nevada Athletic Commission determines that the licensees acted improperly, we will initiate appropriate disciplinary action against all involved.

“Although ‘trash talk’ between competitive athletes is common, any escalation into physical confrontations can bring the sport of unarmed combat into disrepute and is completely unacceptable.”

“Furthermore, such conduct may expose participants to both civil and criminal liability.”

“The Nevada Athletic Commission will act strongly and decisively to protect and elevate unarmed combat in Nevada.

White apologized for canceling the pre-fight press conference

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White apologized for canceling the pre-fight press conferenceCredit: AP

“The Nevada Athletic Commission will strictly discipline all licensees for all incidents of physical violence between athletes outside the ring or cage, up to and including forfeiture of the wallet, revocation or suspension of any current license, denial of applications for new applicants, or denial of future license renewals .”

UFC legend Conor McGregor has criticized Chimaev for failing to make weight, claiming other fighters may follow suit as the fighter is given a new opponent.

The Irishman tweeted: “My opinion is they should have pulled Hamzat off the map entirely.

“Reconfiguring fights with a more favorable fight for the failed knife will only cause many others in the game to follow suit.

“The smiles on the scales were enough for me. Download from the map and starve. McG UFC.”

While Khabib Nurmagomedov says Chimaev’s weigh-ins are due to him not having “Muslims around him.”

Speaking at a recent event organized by the non-profit organization Human Appeal, the former UFC champion said: “If you’re a Muslim, you need to have good people around you – Muslims who can say, ‘Hey, don’t do this. ‘”

“Recently I watched the weigh-in of Khamzat Chimaev. I watched what was happening with his weight and watched his team.

“There are no Muslims around him and that is very bad. Because if you are a Muslim, you need good, strong people around you. [They] will say, “Go back, do this.”

“When you become famous and rich, when you gain power and [around you] there are no people to give advice or you don’t listen to them, then something will happen.

“You need good people, even if you don’t like them, you need them.”

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