Lingering effects from COVID-19 continue to take their toll on Khamzat Chimaev.
The UFC welterweight prospect seemingly announced his retirement in a cryptic statement on Instagram Monday evening.
“I want to say thank you all so much for supporting me in my journey in this sport,” Chimaev wrote (translation via Google). “I think 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.”
Additionally, Chimaev posted photos on Instagram Stories of what appeared to be blood in a sink. Chimaev was recently flown to Las Vegas by the UFC to receive additional medical care after he withdrew from UFC Fight Night 187 due to lingering symptoms from the virus. It was the second time he was forced to pull out of a fight vs. Leon Edwards due to COVID-19 issues after contracting it in December.
However, UFC president Dana White says that Chimaev was simply emotional following an ill-advised training session and isn’t retiring from MMA.
“When he got here [to Las Vegas], the doctors took care of him, and they put him on prednisone, which is a nasty f—-ing 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—-ing trained today, felt like s—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—ing weekend, and now he can’t even train, so he just got emotional and posted that, but he ain’t quitting.”
White said that he spoke with Chimaev personally and that the plan is still for the Chechen-born fighter to make his Octagon return in June.
“He was flown out here so that we could take care of him,” White said. “We get him taken care of. They got him on medication. He’s going to be fine, and he goes in and starts f—-ing 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.”
Chimaev was a breakout star in 2020, earning dominant finishes of John Phillips, Rhys McKee and Gerald Meerschaert to quickly become of person of interest in the UFC at 170 pounds. He was initially booked against Leon Edwards at UFC Fight Night 183 on Dec. 19, but that was fight was scrapped after Edwards tested positive for COVID-19. Since then, ongoing problems from Chimaev’s own battle with the virus resulted in cancellations of the matchup with Edwards on Jan. 20 and March 13. Edwards will now face Belal Muhammad in the new UFC Fight Night 187 headliner on March 13.