While all eyes were on the action inside the Octagon for what was a stacked pay-per-view event this past weekend, they did drift into the fighters’ area in the crowd at one point in the night.
We’ve seen rivalries spill over into the section during events, with Brian Ortega’s slap on Chan Sung Jung‘s translator at UFC 248 coming to mind. The latest similar incident saw lightweight contenders Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler exchange words, as was caught on video by #4-ranked welterweight Gilbert Burns.
As well as the likes of Burns, Octagon announcer Bruce Buffer, and UFC Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell present close by, recently-crowned 205-pound king Procházka had a front row seat.
And he’s got some answers about how it began…
Procházka: Poirier Was The Aggressor In Chandler Altercation
During a recent interview with Helen Yee, Procházka discussed the widely-covered incident, which drew instant reaction when posted online by “Durinho.”
While the footage shows Chandler being taken away by UFC security, “Denisa” revealed that the initiator was actually Poirier, who was seemingly the main aggressor in the shouting match.
“I just was so close. I was closest as I can next to Dustin, and he started to be aggressive, to talk some trash talk and all this stuff towards Michael,” Procházka recalled. “They start to talk together. Nothing that was a surprise to me. I saved them [LAUGHS]. I just watched that, and there was the guys from UFC, they tried to fix it… I think Dustin (started it), yeah.”
That perhaps won’t come as a surprise to some, including Chael Sonnen, who came to the conclusion that Poirier was angrier than ever before inside the T-Mobile Arena on Saturday.
Chandler and Poirier’s animosity dates back to the former Bellator champion’s arrival in the Octagon, with “Iron” claiming to have felt disrespected by some of the Louisianan’s comments.
After things sparked back up following Chandler’s UFC 274 victory, the pair have gone back and forth on social media and in interviews, with their heat now very nearly building up to a heated confrontation.
The altercation has certainly built the foundation for a future fight, should Chandler change his mind about his refusal to entertain a matchup with the former interim champ.
What was your reaction to Poirier and Chandler’s heated exchange at UFC 276?