Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) is currently in the process of investigating the backstage incidents that took place this past Thursday (Sept. 8, 2022) during the short-lived UFC 279 pre-fight press conference.
MMA Fighting received a statement from NAC Chairman, Stephen Cloobeck, today (Mon., Sept. 12, 2022) that reads as follows.
Nevada State Athletic Commission Chairman Stephen J. Cloobeck, and Executive Director Jeff Mullen are aware that the UFC Press Conference on Thursday, September 8, 2022, was cancelled midway through the event. Early reports indicate that an altercation took place prior to and during the press conference, and possibly involved licensed fighters and their associates.
The Chairman has been in communications with UFC executives regarding the events of September 8th. At this time, the UFC is working with the Nevada Athletic Commission on a full investigation into this incident. If the Nevada Athletic Commission determines that licensees acted improperly, we will initiate appropriate disciplinary action against all involved.
Although “trash talking” between competitive athletes is common, any escalation into physical altercations may discredit the sport of unarmed combat and is wholly unacceptable. Further, such behavior may expose participants to both civil and criminal liability. The Nevada Athletic Commission will act strongly and decisively to safeguard and elevate unarmed combat in Nevada.
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 purse forfeiture, revocation or suspension of any current license, denial of applications for new applicants, or denying future license renewals.
We expect professional fighters in Nevada to comport themselves as professionals.
The biggest storylines of UFC 279 fight week all came outside the Octagon, starting with the Thursday presser.
UFC President, Dana White, first came out, addressing the audience in Las Vegas, Nevada. He revealed that there was going to be a change-up in the presentation after a “s—t show” broke out between fighters in the back. UFC Welterweight hopefuls, Kevin Holland and Daniel Rodriguez, took to the stage with the expectation of the co-main event and main event bout fighters to follow.
Once the pair wrapped their round of questions, White was informed by a staff member that things were still a bit chaotic and proceeded to call off the event. It was revealed later in the day that the altercations kicked off between Holland and Khamzat Chimaev, who was set to compete in the main event opposite Nate Diaz. As things progressed, Diaz and his team allegedly got involved. White highlighted that no one would be fined or suspended by the promotion for the actions that occurred.
Things only got worse on weigh-in day, shifting the entire top of the card after Chimaev missed weight by nearly 10 pounds. UFC pulled out all the stops, swapping opponents between all nine fighters to make things work, resulting in Chimaev versus Holland in the co-main event. Chimaev wasted little time, getting Holland to the ground, submitting him via first round d’arce choke submission (watch highlights).
For complete UFC 279 results and coverage click here.