It is still relatively unknown what the long-term side effects are of COVID-19 when it comes to certain athletes. One of the top prospects in MMA today may have found out the hard way.
Undefeated 26-year-old Khamzat Chimaev seemingly announced his retirement from MMA. The freelance wrestling champion recently had a bout with Leon Edwards on March 13 postponed after feeling lingering effects of COVID-19. He originally tested positive on November 29. Chimaev has since posted a message on Instagram that shocked many.
Translated from Russian, Chimaev stated the following: “I want to say thank you to everyone for their support in my path in this sport. “I think I’m done, yes, I know that I didn’t take the belt, but this is not the most important victory in this life, it may upset you, but my heart and body tell me everything. I want to say a huge thank you to my team @allstarsgymsweden, I want to say a huge thank you @ufc.”
He later posted an Instagram story of what appeared to be blood in a sink.
Chimaev made his MMA pro debut in 2018. Fighting for Brave, he made his UFC debut in July 2020, beating John Phillips via D’Arce choke submission. He immediately made an impact with the promotion and impressed UFC President Dana White. Chimaev had one of the quickest turnaround bouts and wins in UFC history (ten days) against Rhys Mckee, and fought again in September against Gerald Meerschaert. Proving the hype was real, Chimaev easily beat Meerschaert.
Set to face Edwards, one of the top-ranked fighters in the welterweight division, a bout on December 19 was postponed. The rebooked January 20 bout was postponed because of complications regarding recovery. As previously stated above, the same results happened for the March fight.
Despite the cause for concern, White has seemingly dismissed the situation. Speaking with MMA Junkie, White stated that Chimaev just didn’t follow doctor’s orders after the UFC helped him out, and the post was him not being rational.
“When he got here, the doctors took care of him, and they put him on prednisone, which is a nasty f*cking steroid,” White said. “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.”
Chimaev’s team still maintains the idea that his ongoing lung issues have been serious. White is not the only one to state that Chimaev is not retiring. Chechnyan’s Ramzan Kadyrov, who has been hit by multiple sanctions by the United States, stated he had a conversation with Chimaev. The leader stated that he would recover, and continue to fight once he recovers. This comes after stating Chimaev would fight for the people of Chechnya.
Chimaev is not the first fighter who has seriously dealt with COVID-19. Former UFC Bantamweight Champion Cody Garbrandt found out he tested positive for COVID-19 following a bicep injury. He later posted on Instagram (via MMAMania) what he has been going through, stating the virus was affecting him without knowing about it.
“I was positive for COVID Aug 29th,” Garbrandt stated. “Since then I have been battling vertigo, tore my vein in my bicep which resulted in finding out I have blood clots, pneumonia and mental fog, these are the symptoms I’ve had and been dealing with and this is the reason I pulled out of the fight. I haven’t done any media, but I’d like to address it on my own terms.”
“No Love” even stated he had to be on blood thinners after ripping his vein in half. Garbrandt, who last fought in June, is still hoping to compete sometime in 2021. Nothing, however, has come to fruition yet.
It is unknown if Chimaev will ever fight again, or if the statements by White or Kadyrov are truly accurate. The safety of the promising fighter is of the utmost importance as of now. Fans will have to wait and see as we here at The Scrap continue to monitor the details behind Chimaev’s health.