Fans at UFC 279 booed Queen Elizabeth II on Saturday, before chanting “USA” as the fight card began in Las Vegas.
The UFC show, taking place at the T-Mobile Arena, began with a short tribute to the Queen, who passed away on Thursday.
It also started a memorial moment, but many fans at the 18,000-seat venue responded by booing and chanting “USA,” as Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review Journal reported and as many UFC 279 viewers noted on Twitter.
“UFC PPV begins with a moment of silence in memory of Queen Elizabeth, which was booed and then chanted by USA,” Hill wrote on Twitter.
The Queen died at the age of 96 on Thursday and was succeeded by her son Charles III.
Several sporting events have been canceled in Britain over the weekend of September 10 and 11, including Premier League football matches.
Nate Diaz exited the UFC with a victory in submission, defeating teammate Tony Ferguson in the final fight for his UFC contract.
Diaz was scheduled to tackle the UFC’s fastest-rising star, Chimayev, in the main event of UFC 279, but Chimayev’s weight was seven and a half pounds over the welterweight limit, causing the card to be heavily reworked.
American Diaz eventually faced fellow countryman Ferguson, who was scheduled to face Li Jingliang. Instead, Kinnaman fought Daniel Rodriguez, whose original opponent Kevin Holland took on Shemayev.
Diaz and Shemayev emerged as submission winners from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, with 37-year-old Diaz forced Ferguson, 38, to take advantage of a guillotine choke in the fourth round, after Shemayev presented Holland with a D choked Arce in the main event joint.
The battle of Diaz and Ferguson was at times a sloppy battle, disputed between two elderly icons. Diaz has fought only four times in the past six years, won twice and lost two, and he has long expressed a desire to leave the UFC – something he is now free to do. Meanwhile, former interim lightweight champion Ferguson has lost five straight fights, three of those defeats coming across finishes.
The majority of the main event was contested on the feet, with Diaz outselling the hitting exchanges and Ferguson suffering a severe cut to his left leg after seeing a kick in the shin checked. In the fourth round, Ferguson attempted to remove the double leg under pressure from his opponent, and was promptly caught in a guillotine by Diaz when the pair hit the canvas. He quickly tapped Ferguson to extend his losing streak, while Diaz returned to the winning column 15 months after his last run – a decision loss to now welterweight champion Leon Edwards.
“I outperformed everyone for pay, I outperformed everyone at survival,” Diaz reflected on his UFC career in a post-fight interview.
“I want to go out [of] UFC for a minute and show all these other fighters how to own another sport. Then I’ll come back here for the UFC title.
Meanwhile, Chemayev easily defeated Holland within seconds of starting the match, and although Holland was able to stand up twice, he was dragged again on both occasions. The latter saw that the American fell into the throttle of D’Arce, which Chemayev eventually managed to win.
The Russian-born Swede had a backstage clash with the Netherlands on Thursday, prompting the American to instigate a series of incidents that led to the pre-fight press conference being abandoned. Earlier in the week, Chimayev also faced middleweight competitor Paulo Costa at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas.
But Shemayev, who was shown to boos at the T-Mobile Arena, was able to redirect attention to his in-ring skills with this victory. He kept it undefeated at 12-0, with 11 of those wins. The 28-year-old is already third in welterweight in the UFC and appears to be nearing the title shot, regardless of the weight reduction failures and his out-of-the-ring behavior this week.
Earlier in the night, Rodriguez defeated Lee by split decision.