Khamzat Chimaev’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, on Wednesday revealed that his client’s withdrawal from the UFC Fight Island 8 headliner was caused by lingering health complications stemming from COVID-19.
Chimaev had COVID-19 in early December. He is well beyond the window of being contagious, but Abdelaziz told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that Chimaev is still having health issues that aren’t allowing him to be properly prepared for a planned Jan. 20 bout opposite Leon Edwards on UFC Fight Island.
“Khamzat had coronavirus and when he went back to gym, his lungs did not recover 100 percent. He needs time for his lungs to recover, and right now it’s about taking that necessary time,” said Abdelaziz.
Edwards and Chimaev were initially scheduled to headline UFC Vegas 17 on Dec. 12, but the bout was sidelined after Edwards contracted a serious case of COVID-19. He lost 12 pounds during his bout with the illness.
It wasn’t as publicized, but Abdelaziz has now confirmed that Chimaev also contracted COVID-19 during a similar time.
The fight was re-scheduled for UFC Fight Island 8, which is set to take place on Wednesday, Jan. 20, in Abu Dhabi. That bout – part of the second of three events over an eight-day span on the island – we now know has been nixed because of Chimaev’s lingering health issues.
Edwards has tweeted that he still intends to face Chimaev at some point, but would like UFC officials to keep him on the Jan. 20 fight card.
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