UFC treating Khamzat Chimaev in U.S. as post-COVID issues persist; return targeted for June

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Simon Samano
·2 min read
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Welterweight sensation Khamzat Chimaev is receiving special treatment from the UFC.

Manager Ali Abdelaziz of Dominance MMA told ESPN that Chimaev was set to arrive in Las Vegas on Tuesday to receive medical care for lingering effects of COVID-19 that he’s been dealing with in recent weeks.

Last week, Chimaev was forced to withdraw from a scheduled fight with Leon Edwards for the second time because of post-coronavirus symptoms. Chimaev first pulled out of the fight scheduled for Jan. 20, while his most recent withdrawal canceled their March 13 headliner at UFC Fight Night. Edwards also withdrew from an earlier Dec. 19 booking after he contracted COVID-19.

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'He thought he was going to die': Inside Khamzat Chimaev's post-COVID struggle

A video released last week revealed just how serious the situation has been for the 26-year-old Chimaev since he contracted COVID-19 in early December. Majdi Shammas, the CEO of Allstars Training Center in Stockholm, detailed how Chimaev has been “in and out of the hospital so many times” while experiencing chest pains, high fever, headaches, and muscle pain. According to Shammas, on the day of his withdrawal, Chimaev had to abruptly end a training session and went to the hospital in an ambulance. Chimaev felt so bad, “he thought he was going to die.”

Although the UFC has dealt with dozens of its athletes contracting COVID-19, Chimaev is the first known fighter to receive care from the promotion’s medical team because of lingering symptoms.

Chimaev (9-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) broke out in a big way last year, earning MMA Junkie’s “Newcomer of the Year” award to set up what was hopefully an even bigger 2021. According to ESPN, the targeted timeline for his return is by June.