The UFC 279 presser was canceled due to a backstage brawl initially reported to have been started by Khamzat Chimaev and Kevin Holland. A later report from MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck contested the earlier rumor, claiming that the scuffle was instead started by Chimaev and Paulo Costa.
However, a more recent report from Helen Yee confirmed that Costa allegedly being involved in the scuffle is ‘fake news’. Yee claims to be in Costa’s presence at the moment along with fellow reporter ‘The Schmo’ and former UFC double champ Henry Cejudo.
Yee also vouched for Costa’s absence at the UFC 279 pre-fight presser. Posting a picture of ‘Borrachinha’ with The Schmo and Cejudo, the reporter wrote on Twitter:
“Rumors of Paulo Costa @BorrachinhaMMA being at the press conference today and “starting the backstage fight” is FAKE NEWS. I’m with Paulo @TheSchmo312 @HenryCejudo now and can confirm he was not there #UFC279”
Check out the tweet below:
The UFC 279 presser was abrubtly called off after a short appearance by Kevin Holland and his opponent Daniel Rodriguez. Dana White later confirmed that the backstage brawl was initially started by Khamzat Chimaev and Kevin Holland and spiraled out of control.
While ‘Trailblazer’ came on stage for the presser, another scuffle reportedly broke out backstage which involved Nate Diaz and his team as well.
Khamzat Chimaev seemingly predicted a brawl between the two teams
Rumors of Paulo Costa’s involvement in the UFC 279 presser brawl probably stemmed from a recent run-in between the Brazilian and Khamzat Chimaev at the UFC Performance Institute.
According to ‘Borrachinha’, Chimaev interrupted his training session with Jake Shields and started calling him out with no real intention of getting into a fight.
The Chechen-born Swede contender appeared to be eager for a showdown ahead of the official one at UFC 279. Speaking to ESPN MMA‘s Brett Okamoto, Chimaev also stated that he would love for some “crazy” things to happen between the two teams ahead of his UFC 279 clash against Nate Diaz. ‘Borz’ said:
“If they wanna fight before [Saturday], fuck the money, brother, I’m gonna fight with them. I love to fight. I’ve been born for war. I’m inside a warrior, don’t care. When the fights come, you don’t care about money or what’s behind it, just fight. If he wants to fight there with his team, I have like 20 guys with me. We’ll fight with all the teams, you know. I hope so. I would love if it happens, something crazy things there. His team is old, brother. My team is fresh. We kill this. His team almost handicapped, brother.”
Watch Khamzat Chimaev’s interview with ESPN MMA below: