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HomeSportsDana White unsure when Khamzat Chimaev returns: ‘Every time he gets close...

Dana White unsure when Khamzat Chimaev returns: ‘Every time he gets close to fighting, he gets really sick’


Khamzat Chimaev made quite an impact delivering three stunning performances inside his first two months with the UFC.

Unfortunately for fans, Chimaev’s activity over the past few years has slowed dramatically with the two-division fighter only competing four times since the start of 2021. He was scheduled to clash with former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker in the main event at UFC Saudi Arabia on Saturday, but the undefeated Chechen was forced off the card at the last minute after falling ill.

UFC CEO Dana White acknowledged that Chimaev is severely sick right now, but the promotion still has no real insight on what exactly went wrong with him.

“The problem is we really don’t know [what’s wrong],” White told The Jim Rome Show. “Every time this guy gets close to a fight, I saw video footage of him on the ground violently ill. He was hospitalized again. He hadn’t trained for three or four days or five days, I don’t know exactly what the number was but we could not put him into a fight next weekend.”

Chimaev has famously dealt with long term problems stemming from a previous bout of COVID, with the 30-year-old fighter even hinting at retirement as he tried to recover from the disease. He eventually bounced back but inactivity has killed a lot of the momentum that Chimaev built up, especially after announcing a permanent move up to 185 pounds.

Chimaev defeated former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in a back-and-forth affair at 185 pounds this past November, but hasn’t fought again since. This latest delay adds even more question marks about Chimaev’s future and there’s no telling when that might change.

“I saw this kid on Fight Island, he wanted to fight the next weekend,” White said. “I let him fight the next weekend. He looked incredible. He’s been on this tear and lately it’s been hard to get him into the octagon.

“Every time he gets close to fighting, he gets really sick. I don’t know [how long he’s going to be out]. I don’t know what to say. It’s not like he’s over here in this country and we’ve had doctors here look at him or anything like that. He’s sort of out of touch so it’s tough to deal with.”

With Chimaev out, the UFC moved on to Whittaker taking on highly touted prospect Ikram Aliskerov, who holds a 2-0 record in the octagon with both fights ending by knockout. Aliskerov’s only career loss came to Chimaev back in 2019, but now he has a chance to leap over his former foe in the rankings with a win over Whittaker on Saturday.



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