UFC president Dana White has spoken out for the first time since one of his brightest young stars, Khamzat Chimaev, announced he was retiring from MMA.
The shocking news came in an Instagram post on Monday from 26-year-old who continues to suffer lingering effects months after contracting COVID-19.
“I want to say thank you all so much for supporting me in my journey in this sport,” Chimaev wrote on social media. “I think I’m done, yes I know I didn’t take the belt but it’s 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 big thank you to my team @allstargymsweden. I want to say a big thank you to @ufc.”
Chimaev followed that post up with an Instagram story.
“Take [care of] yourself and your family,” he wrote. “This is the most important thing. The main thing is I do not know what this disease is but it is not easily outlived.”
The UFC boss has now downplayed Chimaev’s retirement post and claims the undefeated Swedish prospect is just frustrated that he is unable to train or fight despite flying to Las Vegas for the best medical treatment.
“When he got here, the doctors took care of him, and they put him on prednisone, which is a nasty f*cking 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*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.”
White says Chimaev needs to follow doctors orders if he wants to overcome his current medical issues.
“He was flown out here so that we could take care of him,” White said. “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.”