Rising star Khamzat Chimaev missed weight for his first PPV main event fight after failing by 7.5 pounds over the weight limit (171 lbs). His opponent, Nate Diaz, fulfilled his obligations and is within his rights not to take the fight, and still get paid for just showing up.
UPDATE: Friday, Sept. 9 at 6:20 p.m. ET
UFC managed to avert a crisis and will have a robust offering on their card. Their solution was largely what we predicted earlier.
End of Update. Original Article Continues Below.
Chimaev's failure may lead to a number of changes in the lineup, a situation that should be complicated for UFC officials to resolve in the coming hours.
Golden Ticket was Given and Chimaev Blew It All Up
It's very obvious when the UFC has a future star on their hands and they do everything they can to make him successful. The company can make the path easier, although at the end of the day, the fighter has to do his job: make the weight and win.
A few months ago, Chimaev was given the opportunity to jump all the way up the rankings to face #2 Gilbert Burns. Chimaev got the job done and got the win, probably just one win away from facing the champion.
UFC secured Chimaev a main event fight with fan-favorite Nate Diaz, with which he would get to show off against a 37-year-old veteran who hasn't fought in over a year. With a superstar like Diaz, the blockbuster fight would surely have been a good deal for Chimaev, who, by winning, would have moved closer to contention.
Chimaev had everything in his hands to become a champion and grow as a figure, to be successful in sports and economically, but the unthinkable happened. The Chechnya native missed the weight overwhelmingly, not even close to fulfilling his commitment, throwing it all away and ruining an opportunity that very few have received.
Now, This Could Happen
Nate Diaz is on the high ground, he can stop fighting and still get paid to show up. The option of offering him Tony Ferguson, co-main event fighter, is on the table, as they both made the mandatory weight of 171lbs.
Kevin Holland, initially agreed to fight Daniel Rodriguez at 180 pounds (catchweight), would have the option to fight Chimaev, however, the American said in his social networks that he will only accept the fight if it is a five-rounder main event.
There is speculation of a fight between Daniel Rodriguez and Li Jingliang, although it won't be easy to schedule. Jingliang was supposed to fight at 170 lbs, while D-Rod would fight at 180 lbs., there being a 10 pound gap. Sources say Rodriguez has already agreed to fight, however, so must Jingliang for it to become a reality.
Setting up a main card for a PPV is a complex process that takes months to get done. Imagine closing three stellar fights in less than 24 hours, with all the variables that exist (number of rounds, payouts, weight classes, and place in the lineup).
Chimaev's irresponsibility as a fighter has generated a domino effect, which, in a few words, can be labeled as a real disaster. We'll see what happens in the coming hours.