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‘He thought he was going to die’ - Khamzat Chimaev has COVID-19 complications, long term symptoms

Khamzat Chimaev has a long and tough battle with COVID-19.

UFC Fight Night: Chimaev v Meerschaert Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Late last year, Khamzat Chimaev tested positive for the coronavirus and was subsequently pulled out of his bout with Leon Edwards. The promotion then decided to just move and rebook the rising star immediately.

Ali Abdelaziz previously noted how “his lungs did not recover 100%,” but with a fight still booked, Chimaev still tried to train through his serious symptoms. It didn’t end up well for him though, and the fight was again cancelled.

Chimaev’s team has since described some of the ordeals he’s been dealing with for months, including “numerous complications” and “several” trips to the hospital.

“It’s crazy. I have no words,” Chimaev’s manager Majdi Shammas told Front Kick. “He insisted that he wanted to train, then we tried and it failed. He was really bad. He didn’t even do two rounds straight. He did one round, rested, then he started coughing and started feeling ill again. We had to cancel the training, even had an ambulance to the hospital.”

Chimaev had a CT scan due to chest pain, blood tests, and numerous other screenings. His coach stated that apart from all the other symptoms, Chimaev also had bronchitis, and was on antibiotics for 10 days.

“The other day when he finished training, on Tuesday, he couldn’t even walk up to his room,” Shammas said. ”He didn’t even have the energy to go up to his room. He fell asleep in the lobby.

“He can’t train. His friends called me and said, ‘Hey, Khamzat can’t even speak. His fever is so high, his headache is so much, you know, his muscle pain and everything.’ Then an ambulance came and got him to the hospital,” Shammas continued. “Even when he was in the hospital, when he called me he thought he was going to die. He was really bad.

“I truly feel for him. If I know Khamzat right, he wants to get back as soon as possible, (but) he has to rest for a little bit, get his body fully functional,” he said. “I can’t let him train. Who knows? This time, he started training, he got lucky. Next time, he might not be this lucky.”

Chimaev, like former champion Cody Garbrandt and many others, seem to be among the estimated 10% of COVID patients that doctors call “long haulers” or patients who have lasting symptoms. It is still unclear just how many of these symptoms are permanent, but there’s been many cases where seriously ill patients develop respiratory issues that permanently scar their lungs.

His health is obviously far more important that his fighting career, but hopefully everything clears up, and Chimaev gets back to normal soon.