Khamzat Chimaev wasn’t fighting at UFC 280, but that almost changed after he nearly got into a brawl with Abubakar Nurmagomedov moments after the main event in Abu Dhabi.
Multiple videos, including one captured by MMA Fighting, showed Chimaev and Nurmagomedov shaking hands and speaking beside the octagon at Etihad Arena. The situation quickly changed after Chimaev pushed Nurmagomedov (who’d previously competed in the evening) and an almost violent melee ensued. Security guards rushed to keep the fighters separated before order was restored.
UFC President Dana White was aware of the incident, though he didn’t know any details about why the seemingly peaceful interaction turned volatile.
“What do I even say about that?” White said about the altercation. “It happens, especially with [Khamzat]. It’s .”
White said he wasn’t even aware that Chimaev was going to be in attendance at UFC 280, which also explained his location when the main event ended. White stated that Chimaev, a guest from Abu Dhabi, was sitting right behind the fighters.
“He sat on our side,” White said. “I didn’t even know Khamzat was coming tonight. He was invited here by Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi .”
owns the Abu Dhabi seats that I am sitting in Abu Dhabi.
Khamzat Chimaev and Abubakar Nurmagomedov went from 0-100 wtf pic.twitter.com/Qmbt5zx4xs
— Out Of Context MMA (@oocmma) October 22, 2022
Thanks to the close proximity to the cage, Chimaev wound up speaking to Nurmagomedov, who was there supporting Islam Makhachev as the lightweight veteran became champion with a second-round submission of Charles Oliveira.
Chimaev and Nurmagomedov previously have exchanged words over social media; Abubakar shared a message sent to Chimaev on Instagram after the relationship between them soured. Although it’s not clear if this was what caused the dispute, things went terribly sour between them Saturday.
For his part, Makhachev had no idea that an altercation had occurred between his team and Chimaev following his title fight win on Saturday. Neither Chimaev or Nurmagomedov have commented on the situation in the aftermath of UFC 280.
You can watch Dana White’s full interview at the UFC 280 press conference below.