At UFC 279 this past weekend, Chimaev was scheduled to headline inside the Octagon for the first time in his career. “Borz” was set to share the spotlight with MMA superstar Nate Diaz for the final bout of the Stockton native’s contract with the promotion.
But on weigh-in day, it quickly became clear that all was not going to plan behind the scenes. And as had been reported, Chimaev arrived to the scale extremely overweight, tipping it 7.5 pounds over the limit.
The sizable miss forced an unprecedented card shift, which saw Chimaev demoted to a co-main event spot against Kevin Holland, who he submitted with ease inside one round.
Since the event, many have questioned whether the late alterations were as unplanned and sudden as they seemed, with some suggesting that low ticket sales forced the UFC to switch things up.
The latest to share the “staged” sentiment is a prominent member of the UFC roster.
Strickland Joins Chimaev/UFC 279 Conspiracy Theorists
During a recent interview with Helen Yee, #7-ranked middleweight contender Sean Strickland discussed the eventful UFC 279 fight week, which also saw Chimaev almost come to blows with Paulo Costa at the Performance Institute and an altercation backstage force Thursday’s press conference to be cancelled.
When asked for his thoughts on the Chechen-born Swede’s weight miss, “Tarzan,” who’s no stranger to controversial takes, suggested that the entire thing looked orchestrated.
“I mean, was it staged? Who knows. It looked like it was staged to me,” Strickland said. “I just think it was ironic that you take the one guy who goes to welterweight, and that he’s known for not wrestling — Kevin Holland is known not to know how to f*cking wrestle — and next thing you know, you give him the guy known for wrestling. How the f*ck does that work?”
After some brief scrambles, Holland tapped out to a D’Arce choke against a Chimaev who’d burst out of the gate and quickly finished proceedings. Having been initially scheduled to face fellow striker Daniel Rodriguez, “Trailblazer” certainly got the short end of the stick with the card changes.
What do you make of Sean Strickland’s claims?