Dana White insists Khamzat Chimaev isn't retiring after brutal battle with COVID-19, emotional post

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Khamzat Chimaev of Chechnya
At one point while battling COVID-19 in the hospital, Khamzat Chimaev "thought he was going to die." (Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images)

After a long bout with COVID-19, UFC star Khamzat Chimaev appears to be stepping away from the sport.

Chimaev announced on Instagram on Monday night that “I think I’m done” with fighting.

“I want to say thank you to everyone for their support in my path in this sport,” he wrote in Russian. “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. I want to say a huge thank you [to the UFC].”

Chimaev also posted a photo to his Instagram story of what appeared to be blood that he had just coughed up into a sink.

Chimaev ‘thought he was going to die’

The 26-year-old was initially set to take on Leon Edwards in December, though the bout was pushed back after Edwards contracted the coronavirus.

Chimaev then tested positive in January, which delayed the fight even more. It was pushed back a third time to March 13, though that was delayed again as Chimaev was struggling with the virus — something that is apparently still bothering him.

“He wanted to train,” His manager Majdi Shammas said in a video from Frontkick Online last month. “Then we tried, and it failed. He was really bad … He started coughing, he started feeling ill again, and we had to cancel the training. He even went in an ambulance to the hospital.”

At one point in the hospital, Chimaev even feared the worst.

“When he called me, he thought he was going to die,” Shammas said.

So now, after struggling for so long with the virus, Chimaev is considering at least taking a break to make sure he can get healthy.

Chimaev boasted a perfect 9-0 record in his professional fighting career, starting with a TKO win against Gard Olve Sagen in 2018. He last stepped into the octagon in September, where he beat Gerald Meerschaert with a 17-second knockout.

Dana White: 'He ain't quitting'

While Chimaev's post certainly sounded like a retirement, UFC president Dana White insisted on Monday night that wasn't the case.

Chimaev, White said, is currently in Las Vegas receiving treatment. The post apparently came after a rough training session.

“When he got [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***, 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.”

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