‘The Big Shit Show’ started Thursday when multiple confrontations backstage prompted Dana White to cancel the UFC 279 Press Conference. Then things really went off the rails this morning when a slew of fighters, including unbeaten Khamzat Chimaev, missed weight, as ‘Borz’ tipped the scales at 178.5 pounds.
Wait, what? 178.5 pounds?! That’s 7.5 pounds over the 171-pound limit for welterweight non-title fights.
Nate Diaz was already fighting against a four-digit favorite and listed as an underdog in the +800 range. Whether the Nevada Athletic Commission refused to sanction Diaz-Chimaev with that sort of weight discrepancy or Diaz balked at facing a foe that much heavier (which would be completely understandable) was unclear as of early Friday evening.
Whatever the case, the much-hyped showdown between Diaz and Chimaev was nixed. Tony Ferguson, who was originally scheduled to face Li ‘The Leech’ Jingliang in a 170-pound scrap, immediately became the favorite to replace Chimaev.
However, just in case he was needed, the promotion reportedly had a plane on standby in South Florida for Dustin Poirier, who was offered and accepted a fight against Diaz.
In the end, the fight that somehow never happened in the past decade and change — even though Diaz and Ferguson were both perennial lightweight contenders –will finally take place. Although Ferguson was going to be in a three-round affair with Jingliang, he has endless cardio and was more than willing to agree to a five-round match.
As for Chimaev, he will now face Kevin ‘Trailblazer’ Holland at a 180-pound catchweight. This will also be a five-round contest. Holland was originally set to take on Daniel Rodriguez at 180 pounds.
As it turns out, the backstage melee from Thursday started when Holland and Chimaev got into it with each other. After security got that situation under control, Diaz’s team (that White said consisted of 57 Nick Diaz Army members) and Chimaev’s team (consisting of at least 30 people) had to be separated.
Truth be told, these two matchups are much better in terms of interest and tighter odds. The third new fight is Jingliang vs. Rodriguez.
There’s really only one loser in this scenario, at least in terms of who will be at a major disadvantage Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. That would be Jingliang, who now faces an opponent that weighed in 10 pounds heavier than him this morning. Rodriguez is also a lesser name compared to Ferguson.
In an appearance on ESPN, White explained how Chimaev missed weight so badly: “If you saw him yesterday, he was very lean already and he should have come in on weight. He started to cut weight and he started locking up and cramping and all the things that are from a bad cut. Unlike 10 years ago, we send in a doctor and they determine whether he will keep cutting weight and the doctor told him he shouldn’t.”
FanDuel opened Ferguson as a short -113 favorite early afternoon, but those odds moved up to -180 before coming back down to -130. Diaz is a +102 underdog. The best underdog price — as of 8:00 p.m. Eastern — available for Diaz was +128 at BetRivers.
The total was set at 4.5 rounds (‘over’ -130, ‘under’ +100).
FanDuel opened Chimaev as a -430 favorite vs. Holland, but he was adjusted up to -520. Holland is +350 on the comeback. The total was 1.5 rounds (‘over’ -175, ‘under’ +135).
FanDuel opened Rodriguez as a -156 ‘chalk,’ but he was adjusted to -164. Jingliang is a +128 underdog, while the total is 2.5 rounds (‘over’ -150, ‘under’ +120).
When asked about the events of the last 24 hours by Joe Rogan at the ceremonial weigh-ins, Diaz said, “Tony’s been around a long time. We should’ve fought a long time ago. Khabib’s bitch ass was afraid of him, just like this bitch-ass Mother Fucker was afraid of me yesterday. We punked his bitch ass in the back here and now he don’t want to make weight. You know what I’m sayin’? You already know what it — real G’s come from California. America, Mother Fucker!”
When Chimaev was asked by Rogan why he missed weight by so much, he said, “They stopped that shit. I don’t know. I wanted more, continue that shit. (With the crowd roaring in disapproval) Hey, this is Chechnya, mother fuckers. Shut up! I’m going to fuck your boy up. I fucked him backstage as well.”
When pressed by Rogan on his thoughts about facing Holland instead of Diaz, Chimaev said, “I don’t care. I want to smash everybody. I come here to fuck everybody. I’m going to take it over now.”
Well, folks. There you have it. Let’s enjoy the show Saturday night!