This Saturday, Poirier and Gaethje face each other in the main event of UFC 291 with the vacant BMF belt on the line. Originally conceived of by Nate Diaz and co-opted by the UFC to promote Diaz and Jorge Masvidal at UFC 244, the BMF title is a symbolic belt as opposed to a true title; however, after Masvidal retired earlier this year, the promotion decided to bring the belt back, and according to Chiesa, they couldn’t have picked a better fight for it.
“I think it’s going to be a fun fight. It’s going to be violent, it’s going to be chaotic, and I love the fact they’re fighting for the BMF title,” Chiesa said this week on The MMA Hour. “I think this fight validates the BMF title. These are two guys that, either one of these guys could have been an undisputed world champion if there wasn’t a guy named Khabib Nurmagomedov at the top of the mountain. So I think these two guys fighting for this belt validates it and it’s going to be a tremendous fight for the fans.”
Poirier and Gaethje first collided in the 2018 Fight of the Year, with Poirier wining by fourth-round TKO. Now five years later, the two are set to run it back, and while nobody is upset with the matchup, the presence of the BMF title is still one that irks some. Even Chiesa admits he wasn’t thrilled with the original concept, though those concerns don’t extend to this fight.
“I had a little quarrel with it when the BMF title was first introduced, and I’ll tell you what it was: It was because Donald Cerrone wasn’t the one fighting for it,” Chiesa said. “Because to me, that’s the original BMF. But I think that [this fight] is deserving.”
Chiesa also believes there’s another benefit to the belt. While the BMF title may only be symbolic, Chiesa recognizes that it’s also a good promotional tool, helping the UFC to continue to promote fight cards despite the absence of a traditional weight class title.
“You’ve got to think from a business standpoint, it’s getting really hard to stack the cards with multiple title fights through a calendar year,” Chiesa said. “It’s getting hard. Poirier-Gaethje could be a five-round, non-title, pay-per-view main event, anybody is going to purchase it, [but] it makes it easier to put the title on it, and in my opinion, it’s very deserving these guys fight for a title.
“It’s going to open up the doors to where maybe we have three title fights at MSG, or three title fights at the end of the year. If they had to force a title fight onto this card, it might take away from the bigger cards at the end of the year. So it’s fitting these guys fight for the title because they’re both bad mofos, and it’s going to pay dividends down the road from a business standpoint.”
Bringing more eyeballs to UFC 291 doesn’t just help the fighters in the main event, but also is a boon for Chiesa, who faces Kevin Holland in the opening main card bout on Saturday in Salt Lake City.