One of the most amateurish lead-ins to a UFC pay-per-view event was completed overnight Saturday when Khamzat Chimaev missed weight for his UFC 279 fight against Nate Diaz by eight pounds.
A day after several skirmishes backstage forced the pre-fight press conference to be cancelled, Chimaev stood and laughed and said “not that bad” as he tipped the scales at 178.5 pounds.
The headlining welterweight bout is now in severe doubt, with a source from Diaz’s camp telling MMA reporter Cole Shelton the Stockton native would not be fighting Chimaev.
It’s prompted suggestions the UFC should consider putting Diaz in the main event against Tony Ferguson, who was set to make his 170-pound debut on the main card against Li Jingliang.
That could leave Chimaev to fight Kevin Holland, who weighed in at 179.5 pounds for his fight against Danial Rodriguez and was right in the middle of the bad blood before the cancelled press conference.
Chimaev, a 28-year-old from Sweden who is undefeated in the UFC, had an extra hour to try to make weight but did not attempt it.
There were reports an undisclosed medical condition was behind his massive miss.
But he was widely mocked by MMA reporters and fighters for such an egregious act.
“What a complete and total disaster,” tweeted USA Today’s Mike Bohn. “Smiling and shrugging it off does not help Khamzat’s cause here, either.”
“Khamzat Chimaev was given a golden ticket to stardom this week and he totally bungled it before we even hit fight night,” added MMAFighting.com’s Shaheen Al-Shatti. “What a wild 24 hours.”
Chimaev, who was in the mix for a welterweight title shot in the near future, responded to the controversy with a bizarre Twitter post.
He posted a photograph of a comically overweight picture of himself sitting next to fellow UFC fighter Darren Till, who famously missed weight by 3.5 pounds four years ago.
The UFC is yet to respond to the situation.
UFC 279 main card weigh-in results
Khamzat Chimaev (178.5 pounds) vs Nate Diaz (171)
Tony Ferguson (171) vs. Li Jingliang (170.5)
Kevin Holland (179.5) vs. Danial Rodriguez (179)
Irene Aldana (137.5) vs. Macy Chiasson (139.5) – 140-pound catchweight
Johnny Walker (205) vs. Ion Cutelaba (205.5)
More to come …