Khamzat Chimaev withdrew from his planned fight with Leon Edwards due to complications stemming from his recent COVID-19 infection, according to his manager.
Chimaev was slated to fight Edwards in the main event of a card on Fight Island on January 20. Unfortunately, he was forced out of the bout earlier this week.
Initially, the reason for his withdrawal from the fight was unclear, but that’s no longer the case.
Speaking to Frontkick, his manager Majdi Shammas provided some clarity, explaining that Chimaev recently had COVID-19, and is still experiencing complications from the virus, despite no longer carrying it.
“We really tried to persevere and hoped that it would get better, but finally realized that it was a pure impossibility to fight on January 20,” the Chimaev rep said (via Google Translate). “It’s not just the match, he’s going to cut weight too. We are not prepared to risk the boy’s life for a match— no matter how much he himself wants to [compete].”
Since Chimaev withdrew from the card, Edwards has stated that he’d like to remain on the lineup against a replacement opponent. Shammas says he and Chimaev respect that decision, but hope the fight will be rebooked later.
“We respect that Leon wants to stay [on the card],” he said. “Hopefully the match can be rebooked in the future. For Khamzat’s part, it’s going to be a bit of a Christmas break now. He has been allowed to go to his homeland and visit his family, only to return and try to enter a new camp.”
“If anyone doubts his toughness, they are very welcome down to the gym.”
Khamzat Chimaev was the breakout UFC star of summer, 2020. The Chechen-Swede first picked up two wins in the span of 10 days on Fight Island in July, defeating John Phillips by first-round submission and Rhys McKee by first-round TKO, then picked up his third win of the season when he knocked out Gerald Meerschaert at UFC Vegas 11, also in the first round.
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