Despite the chaos that saw both the main event and co-main event in peril of falling apart in the lead-up to UFC 244, Darren Till managed to overcome visa issues and a late arrival in New York, ultimately earning a victory over Kelvin Gastelum.
But even after the fight was brought back from the brink in the week leading up to UFC 244, Till vs. Gastelum almost fell apart in the moments before the fight, according to Till, thanks to the challenge of accommodating President Donald Trump and his Secret Service detail.
"I didn't have my medical yet, but they were shutting down the USADA office for the president and then they tried to kick me out of the room." Till recalled to Ariel Helwani on Monday. "They were saying that I couldn't fight. I refused to leave the room... Kevin Lee had just left, and so did Derrick Lewis, and then I was just sat there."
In the face of pressure from the security detail tasked with guarding the president, Till ultimately relented when an alternate plan was hatched.
"I made sure the doctor came to my room to get my medical because that was just another thing," he said. "If anything could have went wrong [this week], it did... I was so focused on what was coming in the fight, I wasn't paying attention. And then they started talking about maybe me not fighting. I didn't even cause a fuss. I just thought, 'Is this fight not meant to happen?'"
Till overcame logistical nightmares from multiple angles, as well as his own anxiety, to score a major win in his debut in the UFC's middleweight decision.
"I put so much into it -- I put everything I had, even money, I put everything into this. For me, it was a do-or-die fight," he said.