- Dana White shut down the idea that the UFC 279 main card shuffle was staged
- The UFC boss is just happy the even was over
In a wild turn of events, the UFC 279 main card had to be shuffled at the last minute after headliner Khamzat Chimaev missed weight by a staggering 7.5 pounds. The UFC then was prompted to switch “Borz” with Tony Ferguson, who was supposed to face Li Jingliang, to take on Nate Diaz in the main event.
Chimaev wound up fighting in the co-main event instead and took on Kevin Holland. Jingliang, on the other hand, gave up nine pounds of disadvantage to middleweight fighter Daniel Rodriguez in a catchweight bout.
The conspiracy theory
As expected, some MMA fans speculated that the promotion pulled off a staged uncertainty to add hype to the event, something UFC president strongly refuted.
According to White, the UFC 279 roster was stacked with problematic fighters and the entire situation was taxing. Nevertheless, they still had to sort things out and deal with it.
“There’s some f*cking lunatics on the internet that think this was all staged and planned and whatever,” White told reporters at the UFC 279 post-fight news conference. “If you think that the crazy dudes that we had here this week could be orchestrated into something that would be … you’re literally out of your mind. This all happened and we had to deal with it. I just couldn’t wait to get tonight over with.”
Sigh of relief
In all fairness, the MMA community was delighted with how the event played out, especially with the Diaz vs. Ferguson fight. However, White seemed so stressed out with what happened en route to fight day that he was just glad it was all over.
“Thank God tonight’s over,” he concluded.
Looking back, Chimaev made quick work of Holland as he was able to submit his opponent in the very first round. Diaz, meanwhile, also tapped Ferguson out in the fourth. And this made both supposed main event fighters winners. Did the UFC mean that to happen? We may never know.