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Chechnya's warlord leader Ramzan Kadyrov said he convinced UFC star Khamzat Chimaev to unretire during a phone call

INSIDER logoINSIDER 3/3/2021 (Alan Dawson)
Ramzan Kadyrov, Bertrand Gille are posing for a picture: Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov and UFC star Khamzat Chimaev. Photos by Getty Images © Provided by INSIDER Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov and UFC star Khamzat Chimaev. Photos by Getty Images
  • Chechen strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov seemingly convinced Khamzat Chimaev to unretire.
  • Chimaev is suffering from long COVID and coughed up blood this week months after testing positive.
  • Regardless, Kadyrov wants him back in the UFC. "HE REMAINS AND WILL FIGHT TO THE END!"
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Chechnya's warlord president, Ramzan Kadyrov, said he convinced the UFC star Khamzat Chimaev to halt his retirement during a phone call this week.

An unbeaten mega prospect seemingly destined for the top of the mixed martial arts world, Chimaev was expected to fight the elite welterweight Leon Edwards in his 10th pro bout in March.

The match has been fraught with complications related to COVID-19, with both fighters contracting the virus at separate times. It was rescheduled twice before being completely cancelled in February.

While Edwards has recovered from the virus, Chimaev continues to suffer lingering effects, and even thought that he might die because his pain was so severe.

The 26-year-old was flown from Europe to the US to receive further treatment but coughed up blood this week and issued a statement on social media hinting that his MMA career was over.

Before long, Kadyrov dropped Chimaev a video call.

"Khamzat said that recovery from illness is slow, and in an attempt to be honest and frank with the fans, he decided not to give them hope," Kadyrov said in a Russian language statement.

In the statement, posted on the Instagram page of Chechnya's tourism board, Kadyrov continued by saying: "I told him that all the Chechen people were upset by this news."

"I reminded Chimaev that all our young people, whom he inspires, are pinning great hopes on his victory.

"During our conversation, Chimaev realized how important his career is for every Chechen and promised to make every effort to recover as soon as possible."

Kadyrov said Chimaev will return to Chechnya for a "rehabilitation course" and a training camp.

"This means that Khamzat does not leave," the strongman leader added.


A post shared by Visit Chechnya (@ya_pomoshnik_kra_95)

The US recently sanctioned Kadyrov and his MMA firm ACA

US-issued sanctions against Kadyrov in recent months have implications in the MMA industry, meaning that American promotions cannot do business with Absolute Championship Akhmat (ACA), according to the US Treasury.

ACA is one of six companies owned and controlled by Kadyrov impacted by the sanctions, which relate to "serious human rights abusers," the US Treasury said in a statement December 2020.

The statement alleges that Kadyrov and the forces he commands, known as Kadyrovtsy, are implicated in the murder and torture of political opponents.

Further, it claims the Kadyrovtsy kidnapped, tortured, and killed members of the Chechen LGBT+ population.

Kadyrov has denied purging his region of gay people in recent years and even claimed Chechnya has no gay men, according to a statement in The Washington Post.

UFC boss Dana White expects Chimaev to return to his Octagon

Khamzat Chimaev and Dana White. Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC © Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC Khamzat Chimaev and Dana White. Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Kadyrov is far from the only person who wants to see Chimaev fight again.

The UFC President Dana White gave a statement to MMA Junkie of his own that said he expects the Russian athlete to compete in June.

"When he got here, the doctors took care of him, and they put him on prednisone which is a nasty f------ steroid," White said.

"He's supposed to be taking this thing and chilling, relaxing, and letting himself recover. He went in and f------ trained today, felt like s---, and got super emotional and posted that."

White called Chimaev a "savage" for continuing to train despite an instruction to medicate and rest, said he's "going to be fine," and added: "He ain't quitting."

Chimaev's manager Majdi Shammas, meanwhile, told the Swedish MMA website Frontkick that: "It's still very sensitive. It's hard for him right now and he needs some distance.

"We ask everyone for your understanding and patience at this point", Shammas said.

"What's most important at this point is his health. There's nothing that is more important. Right now, that's as far as we're thinking.

"I will always stand by Khamzat and support him, regardless of what he wants to do. He is already a champion as far as we're concerned."

Read the original article on Insider


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