Dana White describes UFC 279 backstage ‘st show’, says Chimaev and Holland was first of ‘several’ skirmishes

If you haven’t heard by now, the UFC 279 pre-fight press conference was canceled after a massive backstage melee involving about a hundred people. Twitter clearly had a field day to respond to the frenzy, but more details about the incident have been pouring in since then.

According to a report from MMA Fighting, Khamzat Chimaev started the incident after kicking Kevin Holland backstage. After that scuffle was settled and Holland took the stage, there was another incident between Chimaev and Nate Diaz’s camp in which water bottles were allegedly thrown.

Dana White also confirmed that the first altercation was between Chimaev and Holland before it started to escalate with the others. He also says that among those scheduled for the press conference, four of the six fighters and their camps were involved.

“All hell broke loose,” White said after the incident. “We stopped doing it, but we didn’t do the right thing not to let it happen.

“Yes [it was Khamzat Chimaev and Kevin Holland that started it]’ said White. “There were several things going on at the same time. It wasn’t just one thing that broke out and it happened. Several things were going on at once.

“So there was security there, no security there,” White continued. “There was no security there because everyone was dealing with the other and when it all started to erupt it was just a complete st show.”

White says Tiki Ghosn, a former UFC fighter turned manager, was also involved in trying to sort things out.

“Had it not been for Tiki, we would have been in trouble,” White said. “Tiki took a few for the team and he’s not even on the team. Tiki took a few water bottles to the head, a few punches, kicks. Thanks Tiki.”

White says the next steps will ensure this doesn’t happen again.

“No (there will be no fines). This is what we do,” White said. “This is the business we are in. This is the fighting business. These things happen. What we’re going to do is look at how this happened today, why we weren’t prepared for this, why we couldn’t manage this backstage better than we did, and next time we’ll be better.”

“If you know you have guys who don’t like each other, you make sure they’re isolated, you have plenty of security around,” White explained. “You know how Nate and Khamzat are, they can have some words and we have enough people here to deal with them.

“What we didn’t have enough people for was that everyone started fighting. When everyone starts fighting and there was more than just fighting that involved security. We were not prepared.”

For what it’s worth, Holland responded to reports of Chimaev kicking him.