Khamzat Chimaev was in serious trouble trying to make weight for UFC 279.
The top-ranked welterweight contender came in well over the 170-pound limit (including one-pound allowance) at Friday’s official weigh-ins, tipping the scales at 178. 5 weighed in, forcing him to withdraw from his main-event bout against Nate Diaz. This caused a reshuffle of the top three fights on Saturday. Diaz now fights Tony Ferguson in the main event, while Chimaev has been bumped down to a co-main event matchup with Kevin Holland.
UFC President Dana White announced the changes to Saturday’s lineup on Sportscenter via Instagram Live and he also commented on the medical issues that Chimaev dealt with as he attempted to cut weight.
“He was very, very lean already and he should have come in on weight,” White said. He began to lose weight, and then he locked up and started cramping.
“Unlike 10 years ago when we were doing this, they call in, we send a doctor up and a doctor determines whether he should keep cutting weight or not and the doctor told him he shouldn’t.”
White did not elaborate on whether Chimaev’s issues were taken into consideration when shifting him to a bout with Holland. After previously representing both the 170- pound and 185- pound divisions, this is Chimaev’s first loss of weight in UFC.
White said that the Chimaev-Holland bout had been booked because of existing bad blood. This was in spite of the fact that there was already a lot of tension between them. According to Chimaev’s coach Andreas Michael, Chimaev connected with “a boot in the chest” on Holland.
“Yesterday there were many questions about what had happened,” White stated. “Kevin Holland and Khamzat Chimaev actually got into it yesterday backstage. Ironically, now they will fight on Saturday night.”