Khamzat Chimaev's close aides claim chronic case of "food poisoning" forced Chechen fighter to pull out of UFC Saudi Arabia

Khamzat Chimaev (left) had been recently hospitalized due to serious illness (right) [Images courtesy: @khamzat_chimaev and @mukhammad_eskirkhanov on Instagram]
Khamzat Chimaev (left) had been recently hospitalized due to serious illness (right) [Images courtesy: @khamzat_chimaev and @mukhammad_eskirkhanov on Instagram]

MMA fighter and associates with knowledge of Khamzat Chimaev's health condition shed light on what forced the Chechen fighter to pull out of UFC's inaugural event in Saudi Arabia. Chimaev was expected to fight former middleweight champion and No.3-ranked fighter Robert Whittaker in Riyadh this weekend.

It was speculated that a potential win over Whittaker could catapult Chimaev straight into a title fight. However, the 30-year-old was forced to pull less than two weeks before the fight. Dagestan's Ikram Aliskerov, who was expected to fight Antonio Trocoli at UFC Vegas 93, stepped in as a last-minute replacement.

In a recent interview with the Russian YouTube channel Ushatayka, MMA fighter and Chimaev's close aide Abdul-Aziz Abdulvakhabov claimed that food poisoning resulted in the bout cancellation.

Abdulvakhabov's original statement was translated from Russian to English by Red Corner MMA and posted on their social media handles. According to the post, Abdulvakhabov received the information from mutual friends.

"Food poisoning is always dangerous. Accepting a fight with food poisoning, [Khamzat] knew his state, [knew] that he wouldn't be able to fight. That's why he called it off." [Translated by Red Corner MMA]

Despite being one of the most popular and highly skilled fighters on the UFC roster, Chimaev has not been able to maintain a busy schedule that made him famous during his initial run with the UFC.

The Chechen fighter had considered retiring from professional MMA after a severe case of COVID-19 infection in 2021. Earlier this year, Chimaev posted and deleted a picture of himself and stated that he was sick.

Khamzat Chimaev breaks silence after the UFC Saudi Arabia withdrawal

Khamzat Chimaev's withdrawal from the landmark Saudi Arabia event came as a huge shock for the MMA community. The internet has been abuzz with rumors of retirement due to repeated health issues.

While a lot of information about his health came from different sources, Chimaev broke his silence and recently took to Instagram to share a heartwarming message in light of the recent events:

"We always plan something but Allah has his own plans for us! Alhamdulilah"

In a recent statement, Chimaev's manager Majdi Shammas denied the retirement rumors and said that 'Borz' would return.

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Edited by Tejas Rathi
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