UFC CEO Dana White: Khamzat Chimaev’s consistent health issues ‘tough to deal with’

UFC CEO Dana White admits it’s been a challenge to manage the career of Khamzat Chimaev.

White has arguably never been higher on a fighter than he was on Chimaev (13-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) when the undefeated fighter arrived on the UFC scene in 2020 and earn a record-setting three victories in the span of 66 days. He’s fought just four times in the 45 months since then, however, and his progress was once again stinted this past week.

Chimaev, 30, was forced to withdraw from Saturday’s UFC on ABC 6 main event vs. Robert Whittaker in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, after he was hospitalized with a health issue.

The specifics of Chimaev’s issues remain unconfirmed, though his management told MMA Junkie on Monday that rumors the latest setback could lead to retirement are “absolutely not true.” Despite that, White struggled to offer more hope about Chimaev’s future during an interview Monday on “The Jim Rome Show,” mainly because he’s somewhat in the dark.

“The problem is that we really don’t know (what’s going on),” White said. “Every time this guy gets close to a fight – I saw video footage of him violently ill on the ground, and he was hospitalized again. He hadn’t trained for like three or four days, or five days, I can’t remember what the number was. But we could not put him into a fight next weekend.

“Lately it’s been hard to get him into the octagon. Every time he gets close to fighting, he gets really sick. I don’t know what to say. It’s not like he’s over here in this country and we’ve had doctors look at him or anything like that. He’s sort of out of touch, so, it’s tough to deal with.”

In the statement to MMA Junkie, Chimaev’s manager Majdi Shammas expressed optimism about the fighter’s recovery and vowed “he will be back.”

Chimaev, No. 9 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie middleweight rankings, last competed at UFC 294 in October where he earned a majority decision victory over former UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ABC 6.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie