LAS VEGAS -- An ordinary fight night turned into bedlam in the minutes before Saturday's WSOF 22 main event, as a brawl erupted cageside at The Axis in Planet Hollywood between UFC lightweights Nate Diaz and Khabib Nurmagomedov and their respective entourages.
"Nate went to Khabib and they just got talking," World Series of Fighting vice president Ali Abdel-Aziz told MMAFighting.com. "They exchanged words and Nate threw a punch. I saw Nate throw a punch."
The melee spilled into the stands until Nurmagomedov and Diaz were forcibly separated. Diaz was then escorted out of the area, but the furor resumed several minutes later, this time with Diaz's older brother Nick throwing himself into the fray. Video captured by MMA Interviews shows the elder Diaz throwing a beer at Nurmagomedov, reigniting tensions before security and Abdel-Aziz are able to pull away the two parties.
"I consider theses guys friends, Nick and Nate, but I'm very disappointed," Abdel-Aziz said.
"I don't know what it is, both of them need to call Dana (White) and talk to him. Maybe they can fight and get over with it, because when people fight, they respect each other. But I'm just not happy about somebody throwing a beer bottle. There's a lot of kids, there's a lot of women. What happens if somebody's face got cut? One of them would've went to jail. I don't want to see Nate or Nick going to jail or their friend go to jail at my show."
The Diaz brothers were in attendance to support their longtime training partner Jake Shields, who lost via third-round submission to WSOF welterweight champion Rousimar Palhares in the night's main event, while Nurmagomedov was on hand to corner his younger brother Abubakar Nurmagomedov as well as fellow countryman Islam Mamedov.
Both Diaz brothers were escorted out of the arena following the bottle throwing incident, but that wouldn't be the end of it, as another wild brawl erupted directly outside of The Axis, with video again capturing Nate Diaz in the center of it.
Las Vegas police eventually arrived to regain order to the scene. Nate Diaz was handcuffed and escorted away, but was not arrested.
"I can't have Nick and Nate come to a World Series of Fighting event again," Abdel-Aziz said. "I like these guys, but if they're not going to show me respect coming to the show, how can I let them back in?
"You've just got to be more professional in MMA. Nate and Nick, all the times I talk to them, they're good guys, but they need to start making a (positive) impression. I know they sell better because they don't care, but you're going to make people not like you if you do stuff like that. I know they don't care, it's attention, fights, guys want to fight each other. But you know what, fight each other in the cage. It was disappointing, to be honest with you."
Along with his position at WSOF, Abdel-Aziz is Nurmagomedov's manager. Nurmagomedov has been sidelined from the UFC due to a knee injury.
When asked Saturday night by MMAFighting.com, the undefeated Dagestani contender declined to comment on the situation.