Footage of exactly what happened backstage before the UFC 279 press conference is beginning to surface, with a new video appearing to show Khamzat Chimaev and Kevin Holland briefly getting physical before officials restrain them.
UFC broadcast partner ESPN released the video on Saturday, hours before Chimaev and Holland face off in the event’s co-headliner at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Despite officials best efforts to keep Chimaev and Holland separate, Chimaev appears to kick Holland, pushing him back, before they are separated.
“Say something now,” Chimaev said. “F*** you, b****.”
“You’re not about that f****** life, kid,” Holland replies. “You’re not about it.”
Holland later appeared at the press conference and sidestepped questions from the media about what happened as a shaken UFC President Dana White announced there’d been some type of altercation backstage. White later cancelled the gathering, citing safety concerns.
After pulling the plug on the event, White told reporters backstage that Chimaev and Holland had started the altercation that grew to involve Nate Diaz and members of his camp.
Chimaev’s coach later said his fighter gave Holland “a boot in the chest,” which appears to be backed up by the new footage.
It wasn’t the first time Chimaev and Holland had crossed paths. The two got into a verbal altercation at UFC Vegas 21 and had traded shots on social media and in interviews before they allegedly got physical at the UFC 279 presser.
Less than 24 hours later, the two got the chance to settle their dispute in the octagon after Chimaev badly missed weight for his fight with Diaz, prompting a last-second shuffle matched him with Holland and Diaz with Tony Ferguson.
White told reporters none of the fighters involved in the altercation would receive any discipline from the promotion, and the press conference was not staffed by the Nevada Athletic Commission, which would have had jurisdiction to penalize the fighters, as it did after an infamous brawl between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier at a press conference for UFC 178.