Khamzat Chimaev, a rising UFC star, sent fans into a frenzy late Monday night after a cryptic social media post that appeared to suggest he was retiring from mixed martial arts at 26.
“I want to say thank you all so much for supporting me in my journey in this sport. 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,” Chimaev captioned a post on Instagram in Russian.
“I want to say a big thank you to my team [Allstars Training Center]. I want to say a big thank you to UFC.”
However, UFC president Dana White says that fans should not worry about the “emotional” post and that the welterweight star is preparing for a return to the cage in June.
Chimaev has been dealing with lingering COVID-19 symptoms that have forced him out of bouts against Leon Edwards at UFC Vegas 17, UFC Vegas 19, and UFC Vegas 21, and has been hospitalized multiple times with health issues related to the virus.
White, meanwhile, says the UFC flew Chimaev to Las Vegas and that he was preparing for a June return.
“When he got here, the doctors took care of him, and they put him on prednisone, which is a nasty f*cking steroid,” White said, via MMAFighting.com. “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*cking trained today, felt like sh*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*cking weekend, and now he can’t even train, so he just got emotional and posted that, but he ain’t quitting.
“He was flown out here so that we could take care of him. We get him taken care of. They got him on medication. He’s going to be fine, and he goes in and starts f*cking 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.”
Of course, Chimaev will ultimately have the final decision, so we will have to see whether it was an “emotional” moment like White said or Chimaev decides his overall health is more important in the long run.