Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov says he steered UFC’s Khamzat Chimaev away from retirement

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Nolan King
·4 min read
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Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov says a phone conversation with Khamzat Chimaev on Monday struck a chord with the UFC fighter who had seemingly hinted at retirement on Instagram earlier that day.

In an Instagram post of his own Tuesday, Kadyrov revealed that a conversation between him and Chimaev took place shortly after Chimaev’s original posts pointed at health struggles due to lingering COVID-19 symptoms. Kadyrov’s post included a screenshot appearing to be a FaceTime between him and Chimaev.

“Khamzat said that the recovery from illness is slow, and, trying to be honest and frank with the fans, he decided not to give them hope,” Kadyrov wrote (translation via Google’s online translator). “I told him that ALL the Chechen people were upset by this news. (I) reminded Chimaev that all our young people, whom he inspires, are pinning great hopes on his victory, but what can I say – MILLIONS OF FANS IN RUSSIA AND THE WORLD! And if fans need to wait for his return, then we will all look forward to his entry into the octagon with trepidation and patience.”

That’s when Chimaev made a realization, according to Kadyrov.

“During our conversation, Chimaev realized how important his career is for every Chechen and promised to make every effort to recover as soon as possible,” Kadyrov wrote. “In the near future, he will fly to the republic, where he will complete a rehabilitation course, hold a training camp and start training. And this means that Khamzat does not leave, HE REMAINS AND WILL BEAT TO THE END!”

Kadyrov finished his post by wishing Chimaev a speedy recovery as he battles lingering effects of the coronavirus. Due to such difficulties, Chimaev has not competed since a September knockout of Gerald Meerschaert. He has been scheduled to fight Leon Edwards, but all three were canceled – two due to his ongoing struggles.

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On Monday, UFC president Dana White informed MMA Junkie that he, too, spoke to Chimaev, explaining that the retirement post was made out of emotion. White said Chimaev, who’s been receiving treatment from the UFC in Las Vegas, is not done fighting and is still angling for a June return.

White revealed Chimaev had recently been prescribed a steroid, prednisone, and was not supposed to train while using it. However, Chimaev’s relentless work ethic proved to be harmful as the Chechen-born Swedish fighter continued his training regiment against doctor’s orders, which resulted in a flare-up.

“He went in and f*cking trained today, felt like sh*t, and got super emotional and posted that,” White said. “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.”

The relationship between Chimaev and Kadyrov, whom the U.S. sanctioned last year for major human rights violations, isn’t new. The two have made public appearances with one another in the past, with the most recent earlier this year. On Jan. 6, Chimaev posted on Instagram about his visit to see Kadyrov.

Check out Kadyrov’s full post below, followed by the English translation (using Google online translator) below.

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“Friends, you’ve probably already heard the news about Khamzat Chimaev, who announced his departure from the UFC in his account. Not believing my eyes, I called and talked to Chimaev.

“Khamzat said that the recovery from illness is slow, and, trying to be honest and frank with the fans, he decided not to give them hope.

“I told him that ALL the Chechen people were upset by this news. I reminded Chimaev that all our young people, whom he inspires, are pinning great hopes on his victory, but what can I say – MILLIONS OF FANS IN RUSSIA AND THE WORLD! And if fans need to wait for his return, then we will all look forward to his entry into the octagon with trepidation and patience.

“During our conversation, Chimaev realized how important his career is for every Chechen and promised to make every effort to recover as soon as possible. In the near future, he will fly to the republic, where he will complete a rehabilitation course, hold a training camp and start training. And this means that Khamzat does not leave, HE REMAINS AND WILL BEAT TO THE END!

“The heart and body whispered ‘everything!’ – that is how Khamzat wrote on Instagram. But the Chechen SPIRIT and the will to win shout to him ‘Forward!’ Therefore, I know for sure that Khamzat will take the UFC belt and prove that he is the best of the best!

“And I urge the fans to make a dua, and ask the Almighty for health and a speedy recovery for our beloved athlete, a Muslim and a real konakh Khamzat Chimaev! Gave autto boila khan, NOHCHIIN BORZ HAMZAT!”