UFC 294 went down this past weekend in Abu Dhabi. As with every major UFC event, a number of high profile celebrities and fighters were on hand. In the case of UFC BMF champ Justin Gaethje, the ‘Highlight’ was there to corner friend and training partner Kamaru Usman.
The former UFC welterweight king served as a late notice replacement for Paulo Costa, facing Khamzat Chimaev on just 10 days notice. Usman put together a shockingly successful performance against the Chechen, losing a majority decision. But just because he and his team were there for business didn’t mean they couldn’t have a little fun too.
Video: Justin Gaethje wrestles Nelk Boys security, loses
Among the celebrities on hand for UFC 294 were longtime friends of Dana White and podcast influencers, the Nelk Boys. Known as much for their publicity stunts as their media content, it seems at some point someone must have had the idea to get UFC star Justin Gaethje into an impromptu scuffle. That, or maybe the Trevor Wittman-trained fighter just decided he was feeling restless.
Either way video is circulating online of Gaethje and a man only identified as a “Nelk Boys security” engaged in a friendly tussle. At first, Gaethje seems to be handling things just the way fans might expect. That is, right up until he gets caught in a surprise kimura and has to tap his way out of trouble.
Kamaru Usman pranks Justin Gaethje
That wasn’t the only bit of goofiness that the 34-year-old Arizona native found himself at the center of during his trip to Abu Dhabi. At some point during their stay in the Middle East, Usman caught Justin Gaethje sleeping, and did what any warm blooded American man does in that situation, drew a penis on his forehead in sharpie.
It’s unclear at this point what might be next for Gaethje (other than some rubbing alcohol). UFC 294 witnessed the second defense of Islam Makhachev’s lightweight title, potentially setting Gaethje up for his own crack at the Dagestani champ. However, since the bout was supposed to feature Charles Oliveira taking on Makhachev, before a last minute injury sidelined the Chute Boxe Diego Lima fighter, it may just be that Gaethje will be stuck on the sidelines waiting for his turn in line.
Gaethje and Usman at center of pre-fight injury speculation
Earlier in fight week, both Justin Gaethje and Kamaru Usman found themselves at the center of a less entertaining bit of headline news. During Usman’s open workout for UFC 294, the ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ hit a big double leg takedown. After hitting the mat, right next to a camera recording the session, it sounded like Usman told Gaethje something “popped.”
Usman seemed to get up slowly, but walked off the mat under his own power and reportedly went on to hit mitts with Cosmo Alexandre. Both men firmly denied that there was anything wrong with Usman’s knee, but it didn’t put a rest to fans speculating ahead of the event.
Eventually, even the most skeptical observers had to be satisfied, however. Usman fought seemingly without reservation or encumbrance for 15 hard minutes against Chimaev. If there was any trouble with his left knee, he certainly didn’t show it on Saturday.
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