The past week was an emotional roller coaster for many fight fans with highs and lows. We witnessed the possible end of an era at UFC 279 and lost an important member of the MMA community. We cover the most important stories of the week in this edition of OverUnder.
The death of Elias Theodorou. The fallout of UFC 279. Brendan Schaub attempts to reignite his feud with Dana White. Khamzat Chimaev is moving to the Middleweight division.
We couldn’t start this edition without speaking about the tragic death of Elias Theodorou, who died from a battle with colon cancer at the age of 34 on September 11th in his hometown of Toronto, Canada. His death came as a shock, as Elias kept his battle with cancer private. There was an outpouring of love online for Elias following his death as he was respected by many.
Elias made his professional MMA debut in June of 2011 and went on to have a successful 10-year career as a mixed martial artist with a professional record of 19-3. He became the first Canadian fighter in history to win the Ultimate Fighter in April of 2014 and was a proud Canadian representative. He competed in the UFC from 2014 to 2019 where he went 8-3, with his only career losses coming against Derek Brunson, Thiago Santos, and Brad Tavares who were all amongst the best fighters in the world. He finished his career post-UFC going 3-0, with his final fight taking place in December of 2021.
Elias was an energetic person and that extended beyond his fighting career. He competed in the 3rd season of the Amazing Race Canada, he was a ring boy, he did standup comedy, he was a romance book cover model, he was a proud medical cannabis activist, and he interacted with his fans as much as any other fighter online. The friends and family of Elias Theodorou remember him as a positive person that always uplifted the spirits of those around him. Elias Theodorou is no longer here but his legacy will live on.
When we published the first edition of OverUnder last Friday, we had no idea of the events that would follow that day. Khamzat Chimaev missed weight by 7.5 lbs for his scheduled fight against Nate Diaz and the entire card imploded. Diaz justifiably refused to fight Khamzat because of the significant weight advantage, so the UFC had to reshuffle the card in order to save the event.
The top 3 fights on the main card were changed with Nate Diaz fighting Tony Ferguson, Li Jingliang fighting Daniel Rodriguez, and Khamzat Chimaev fighting Kevin Holland. The new matchups were more well-received by fans than the original matchups, as they were fairer. Whereas Nate Diaz was a +800 underdog against Khamzat, he was a +125 underdog against Ferguson.
At the end of the event, Khamzat Chimaev looked as dominant as ever and Nate Diaz finished Tony Ferguson, walking into free agency with his superstar aura intact. In his post-fight speech, Diaz said that he’ll be leaving the UFC to take over another sport. It looks like the next time we see Nate Diaz compete, it will be in the squared circle for a boxing match.
It looks like Brendan Schaub has been waiting for a reason to reignite his feud with Dana White, and he got that reason this week. On Tuesday, a media member asked Dana White about the conspiracy theory that the UFC asked Khamzat Chimaev to miss weight so they could reshuffle UFC 279 to increase ticket sales.
Dana White initially thought that the conspiracy theory was created by Pat Miletich who he referred to as the dumbest mother f*cker on the planet. Another media member then corrected Dana and informed him that it was actually Brendan Schaub who created the theory to which Dana responded with “I apologize to Pat Miletich, then. That makes sense”.
This prompted Brendan Schaub to go on a tirade on an Instagram post where he called Dana “A low-budget Vince McMahon” and made fun of the way Dana dresses. In fairness to Dana White, he didn’t say anything about Schaub until he was asked about him. Schaub continued to attack Dana on social media and looks like he wants the smoke. It'll be interesting to see if Dana retaliates.
The rivalry between Schaub and Dana first started in 2018 after Dana roasted Schaub in the comments of an Instagram post by Israel Adesanya.
Missing weight isn’t unusual in our sport, but missing weight by 7.5 lbs is, especially when it’s your first main event on a UFC PPV. Khamzat Chimaev’s failed weight cut at UFC 279 could signal the end of Khamzat’s career in the Welterweight division. Many expected Khamzat to eventually become the Welterweight Champion, but he might not be able to make the weight again.
Khamzat’s head coach Andreas Michael revealed to ESPN that Khamzat’s next fight would take place in the Middleweight division and that cutting weight for Khamzat has become increasingly difficult. At the end of 2020, Khamzat was badly affected by COVID-19 to the point where he considered retiring from the sport because of lung complications from COVID. He even underwent surgery to help him with his breathing. Andreas Michael told Ariel Helwani that Khamzat’s body hasn’t been the same since getting sick from COVID.
Khamzat’s future at Welterweight remains to be seen, but his near future will be at Middleweight. Given the state of the Middleweight division and their recent altercation at the UFC Performance Institute, a fight between Khamzat Chimaev and Paulo Costa is a layup for UFC matchmakers.
Khabib Nurmagomedov believes Charles Oliveira will pull out of his fight against Islam Makhachev.
Marlon Moraes ends his 5-month retirement and signs with the PFL to compete in the 2023 Featherweight league.
BKFC founder David Feldman reveals he'll look to aggressively sign Nate Diaz to fight Mike Perry in a bare knuckle fight.
Jake Paul says he'll slap the Stockton out of Nate Diaz.
Tony Ferguson told UFC Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell that he had to drive his Bentley if he was going to fight at UFC 279.
Thanks for reading. Remember, we're bringing you the best stories in combat sports every Friday at 8 AM ET. Enjoy the fights.