When Chimaev was booked to headline the September 10 pay-per-view in Las Vegas. Not many would have expected the events that were to follow. Throughout fight week, headlines followed “Borz” wherever he went, and they weren’t just focused on his appearance in the Octagon.
First came a verbal altercation with Paulo Costa at the UFC Performance Institute, which perhaps could’ve turned physical if members of Chimaev’s team hadn’t pulled him away. The Chechen-born Swede was in a similar incident two days later whilst backstage ahead of the customary pre-fight press conference.
After another aggressive exchange, this time with Kevin Holland and Diaz, the presser was cancelled. But the controversy wasn’t done there.
At Friday’s weigh-ins, Chimaev tipped the scales 7.5 pounds over the limit, forcing the top three fights on the UFC 279 billing to be altered. That left “Borz” sharing the cage with Holland, whom he defeated in quick and dominant fashion.
In total, Chimaev’s week involved nearly bringing a fight to the PI, causing an entire press event to be called off, and a massive weight miss that he showed little remorse for. That’s without even mentioning the extra work he provided on late notice for the production team and the effect his actions had on other fighters.
All in all, not a bad week, says White…
White Focuses On Chimaev’s In-Cage Display
During the post-fight press conference following this week’s episode of Dana White’s Contender Series, White was asked how he’d assess Chimaev’s week in Las Vegas.
While he acknowledged the crazy happenings that went down in the buildup to UFC 279, White appeared to suggest that Chimaev’s dominant display on fight night somewhat negated the negatives.
After dismissing the idea that the #3-ranked welterweight had a “bad week,” the UFC president praised Chimaev’s victory over Holland.
“It was a nutty week. I mean, the whole week was nutty in every way that it could possibly be nutty,” White said. “But I wouldn’t say, by any stretch, that it was a bad week for Khamzat Chimaev. I mean, he came in and — you all know what I think about Kevin Holland and what I think of him as a person and fighter — goddamn, Khamzat made that look easy and very quick. He’s an absolute beast.”
Interestingly, despite his huge miss on the scale, Chimaev avoided a fine owing to the fact he was placed in a 180-pound catchweight bout against “Trailblazer,” which he’d technically made weight for.
Nevertheless, while there doesn’t seem to be any ill will from the promotion’s side, if Chimaev’s reception inside the T-Mobile Arena and at the ceremonial weigh-ins said anything, it’s that “Borz” certainly hasn’t exited UFC 279 as a popular figure among many fans.
Do you agree with Dana White?