Rising UFC Khamzat Chimaev appeared to announce yesterday that he is from the sport at just 26-years-old due to an ongoing battle with what has become known as ‘Long Covid’, but Dana White has since suggested that is not the case.
“I want to say thank you all so much for supporting me in my journey in this sport,” Chimaev wrote on Instagram. “I think i I’m done, yes I know I didn’t take the belt but it’s not the most important victory in his life, it may upset you but my heart and body tell me everything. I want to say a big thank you to my team [Allstars Training Center]. I want to say a big thank you to UFC.”
Chimaev also posted a photo that appeared to show blood in a sink alongside a message that said, “The main thing is I do not know what this disease is but it is not easily outlived.”
It’s a shocking turn of events given that Chimaev was arguably the UFC’s most hyped up-and-coming prospect in 2020, getting special treatment from Dana White and being hailed in some quarters as the new Khabib Nurmagomedov as he racked up three stoppage wins in the Octagon in the space of three months to extend his unbeaten career record to 9-0.
Just a couple of months later however, Chimaev was forced to pull out of a fight with Leon Edwards after being diagnosed with Covid-19, and unfortunately he’s become one of a troubling number of people who have suffered from the disease who haven’t been able to shake off the effects of it.
As such, Chimaev had to pull out of two more rescheduled fights with Edwards in the months that followed as reports emerged from his camp that the young star was having trouble with his lungs and couldn’t train for more than two rounds without being left exhausted.
Recently the UFC arranged for Chimaev to come to Las Vegas to be treated by leading medical experts, and according to White, he then became overly emotional after attempting to train too soon rather than rest, which went badly and prompted his retirement announcement.
“When he got here, the doctors took care of him, and they put him on prednisone, which is a nasty f*cking steroid,” White told MMA Junkie. “So he’s on prednisone, and he’s supposed to be taking this thing and chilling, relaxing, and letting himself recover. He went in and f*cking trained today, felt like sh*t, and got super emotional and posted that. He’s not supposed to be training, but you know, this guy’s a savage. He wants to fight like every f*cking weekend, and now he can’t even train, so he just got emotional and posted that, but he ain’t quitting.”
White insists that Chimaev is going to be ok, but for now training is a no-go until he’s completed his current course of treatment.
“He was flown out here so that we could take care of him. We get him taken care of. They got him on medication. He’s going to be fine, and he goes in and starts f*cking training. He’s not supposed to be training, and he’s super frustrated.
“He’s training when he’s supposed to be resting. He’s got to stay off, at least while he’s on this medication.”
Hopefully White is right and Chimaev will make a full recovery, but the harsh reality at the moment is that the medical community still has a lot to learn about what causes some people with Covid-19 to become ‘Long Haulers’ and as such they are also still trying to understand the best way to treat them.