Khamzat Chimaev had a pretty disastrous weight cut for UFC 279.
According to his coach Andreas Michael, there may just be lingering effects from Chimaev’s bout with COVID-19, which made him announce his retirement after months of horrible complications. Chimaev returned in 2021 and has fought three times since, but his coach believes he just hasn’t been the same.
“He was getting muscle spasms, shaking, vomiting,” Michael revealed details from the weight cut as he spoke to MMA Fighting. “When he stood up he was passing out. I was worried about him.
“Ever since he got coronavirus and all these health issues, he’s had a little bit of a hard time making the weight,” Michael said. “Ever since that issue, his body has been a little bit off when it comes down to pushing it to the last drop. But I’m just speculating. Like I said, I’m not a physician, I’m not a doctor or anything like that, and I don’t claim to be one.”
While both Dana White and Chimaev told the media it was a doctor that pulled the plug on the weight cut, Michael says it was his decision to do so out of concern for his health.
“I told [Chimaev], ‘F—k this, your health is number one,’” Michael said. “That’s why we called the physician. We were thinking, ‘Forget about the fight. Is he alright?’ Cutting weight is very dangerous for the body if you push too hard, and I just wanted him to be OK.
“I thought to myself, ‘OK, if this means that I’m going to risk his health, then I’ve got to make an executive decision and I’ve got to be a leader and do what’s best for him.’ I talked to the doctor, and I asked him, ‘What do you think?’ The doctor told me, ‘Listen, I don’t advise that you continue cutting weight.’”
While Chimaev publicly just blamed the doctor and even Nate Diaz for the fight not pushing through, his coach was instead apologetic and called the badly botched weight cut “unprofessional.”
“I believe we just started too heavy this camp. We should have had a little more discipline and held our weight to a reasonable level, to a reasonable weight close to the one that he’s training at and going into camp. That’s basically about it,” he said.
“We can find a lot of reasons and excuses and all this. At the end of the day — I’m not slagging off Khamzat, he’s a magnificent fighter and I love him to death — but what I’m saying is that it was absolutely unprofessional from our side not to make weight. Anyone who doesn’t make weight is unprofessional, absolutely. I want to [apologize] to Nate’s camp for that. We should have both made weight, and there are no excuses.”
Michael admits that “we missed our chance there” after losing out on a main event bout with a superstar like Diaz. He also says he prefers to just make adjustments and stay at welterweight, where they’re closer to the title.