Khamzat Chimaev Says Nate Diaz Turned Down 'Almost $2M' to Fight Him at UFC 279

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 11, 2022

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - SEPTEMBER 10: Khamzat Chimaev of Russia has his hands wrapped prior to his fight during the UFC 279 event at T-Mobile Arena on September 10, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Khamzat Chimaev didn't come close to making weight for his originally scheduled fight against Nate Diaz, but he apparently wanted to go head-to-head anyway.

Chimaev told UFC interviewer Megan Olivi that he offered to give Diaz his purse to have the UFC 279 main event to go on as scheduled.

“I could make that weight, so the doctor stopped that s--t. So yeah, what I could do now? I was waiting what UFC said to me. I said I wanna fight, so I gave all my money to [Diaz]. It was almost two million. So I said, 'Give all my money to that guy, let him fight.' If he is that gangster, he should fight for money. But he didn’t wanna fight me, you know? So, who’s the gangster now?”

Chimaev weighed in Friday at 178.5 pounds, seven pounds over the limit for his bout against Diaz. The Russian's inability—or unwillingness—to cut weight sent UFC 279 into a state of chaos, with Dana White shuffling three matches on the card to make things work. Chimaev wound up fighting Kevin Holland, while Diaz took on Tony Ferguson.

“You care about that s--t? I don’t care,” Chimaev told reporters when asked about criticism over his weight. “I care about my family. I care about my career. I care about my money. … One day they’re with me, one day they’re not with me.

“So, I’m real, guys. So, I like the people that are real. Not fake people going one way or going the other way.”

Both Diaz and Chimaev were victorious in their make-up fights.