Dana White
UFC president Dana White dismissed suggestions that they staged incidents to build hype. In this picture, White speaks to the media during the UFC 229 Press Conference at Radio City Music Hall on Sept. 20, 2018, in New York City. Steven Ryan/Getty Images


  • Sources report that multiple altercations took place backstage
  • UFC president Dana White was forced to cancel the press conference
  • White did not mention whether fines or any punishment will be meted out

For the first time in the UFC's illustrious history, company president Dana White decided to call off the press conference for UFC 279 that will see Khamzat Chimaev take on the biggest name he has faced in the Octagon so far, Nate Diaz.

"Yeah, this ain't gonna happen. I apologize everybody. I'm in very weird waters here. This has never happened in the history of this company. Trust me when I tell you this is the right decision not to do this press conference right now," White announced to a chorus of boos from fans in attendance.

"I'm with you, but for everybody's safety, this is the right decision, alright? I apologize. Thanks for coming," he added before promptly exiting the stage.

ESPN's Brett Okamoto and Marc Raimondi later revealed that there was a major scuffle Chimaev and Kevin Holland plus one of Diaz's entourages threw an object in the direction of the rising welterweight contender.

149K views, 4.5K likes, 67 loves, 1.2K comments, 1.5K shares, Facebook Watch Videos from ESPN MMA: Dana White was forced to cancel a fight week press conference for the first time in UFC history 👀...

Raimondi added that Tiki Ghosn, a former UFC fighter-turned-manager, got tangled up with Diaz's camp as well.

Ariel Helwani of The MMA Hour confirmed in a Twitter video that Holland and Chimaev got extremely chippy, which inevitably led to both parties pushing at each other.

However, no punches or kicks were thrown supposedly.

As for Ghosn's involvement, Helwani noted that he just happened to be in the vicinity of the altercation and stepped in to stop things from getting worse since "there was hardly any security" and was followed up shortly by his dustup with a Diaz entourage member that saw "water bottles being thrown."

White later made an appearance in the post-event media scrum and practically confirmed the aforementioned reports despite not putting out any names on blast before calling everything that went down a "complete [expletive] show" and that "it's bad, it's all bad".

nate diaz ufc 202 2016
Nate Diaz looks to silence Conor McGregor one more time when they stepped into the octagon Saturday night in Las Vegas. Getty Images

In a follow-up report by Yahoo Sports, three other fighters were involved in their own messes backstage namely Tony Ferguson, Daniel Rodriguez and Li Jingliang, which had White admitting that they did not have enough security personnel for the event.

"What we need to do is look at how this happened and [figure out] why we were unprepared for it. Why weren't we able to manage this backstage area better than we did. We'll be better next time we do a press conference. This will never happen again," White promised the media as quoted by Yahoo Sports.

Instagram user Chris Owens captured footage of Holland exchanging strong words with No. 9-ranked middleweight Darren Till at a hotel after the press conference.

While White is adamant that he thinks the press conference was a failure, the interest that the fighters generated because of how messed up the whole situation is makes UFC 279 an even bigger must-watch event.

It is currently unknown whether fighters will be receiving fines or any sort of punishment for their involvement in the events that led up to the cancellation.

Khamzat Chimaev, UFC
Khamzat Chimaev of Russia prepares for his welterweight fight against Gilbert Burns of Brazil during the UFC 273 event at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on April 09, 2022 in Jacksonville, Florida. James Gilbert/Getty Images