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Dana White on UFC 279 presser cancelation: ‘I could see where this was going’

Dana White didn’t expect things to take the turn they did today (Thurs., Sept. 8, 2022) at UFC 279’s pre-fight press conference.

UFC press conferences never start on time these days, but this time things were a bit different. Welterweight combatants, Kevin Holland and Daniel Rodriguez, opened things up by sharing the stage with White before the UFC boss squared them up ... and then called everything off.

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“It was multiple crazy ... I don’t even know what to call it,” White told the media following the cancelation. “However many years, 22 years, however long I’ve been doing this, we’ve never had an incident like today. All hell broke loose out here. We did a ... I don’t even know how ... we stopped it, but we didn’t do a good job of ... not letting it happen. I don’t know, I don’t know what went on here. It’s just never happened before and we’ll be ready for it the next time.”

White explained that he didn’t want all six UFC 279 featured bout Welterweight competitors out on stage at the same time. He then confirmed that before bringing out Holland, “Big Mouth” and event headliner, Khamzat Chimaev, sparked an altercation that quickly bled into Nate Diaz’s camp, leading to things getting “very physical.”

Chimaev’s opponent in UFC 279’s main event, Diaz, had “57 people” with him, according to White, while Chimaev had, “30-something” and multiple other parties found themselves involved. Despite the chaos continuing backstage while Holland and Rodriguez were out on stage, all fights are still on and no fines or suspensions will be handed out by the promotion.

“I could see where this was going,” White said. “You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out where this whole press conference was headed. There were so many people with all the camps that once this started it would have been a bad — you know, now I have to start looking at an event going off on Saturday if this continues. So, we had to shut it down.

“[Manager] Tiki [Ghosn] took one for the team and he’s not even on the team,” he laughed. “Tiki took a couple water bottles to the head, slaps, kicks. Thanks, Tiki.”

After everything settled down, Chimaev provide a brief reaction via Instagram:

Ariel Helwani has also provided further detail, reporting that Chimaev front-kicked Holland in the chest, leading to overall chaos ensuing.

“Chimaev was reacting to things Holland has said recently and it set him off, I’m told,” Helwani tweeted. “Once that was broken up the Chimaev-Diaz part of the story popped off and then the bottles started flying.”

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 279 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 279: “Khamzat vs. Diaz” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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