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Khamzat Chimaev releases first statement after withdrawal from Robert Whittaker fight at UFC Saudi Arabia



Khamzat Chimaev releases first statement after withdrawal from Robert Whittaker fight at UFC Saudi Arabia

Khamzat Chimaev was scheduled to headline the UFC’s first event in Saudi Arabia with the chance to punch his ticket to a middleweight title shot. Unfortunately, those plans changed this past week.

Chimaev was set to make his first appearance of 2024 in a massive fight against former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker this Saturday before being forced out of the bout with an illness. Chimaev will now have to watch former opponent Ikram Aliskerov face Whittaker in the new headliner.

The undefeated Chimaev released his first comments following the withdrawal on his Instagram page on Monday.

“We always plan something but Allah has his own plans for us,” Chimaev wrote.

As of now, there are no details surrounding Chimaev’s illness, or a timeline of when he may be able to return to the octagon.

UFC CEO Dana White said in his announcement of the new UFC Saudi Arabia main event that Chimaev fell “violently ill” during the final stretches of preparation for Whittaker. Speaking on The Jim Rome Show on Monday, White continued to acknowledge that, while also acknowledging that Chimaev’s past few year stretch has been quite the mystery.

“I saw this kid on Fight Island, he wanted to fight the next weekend,” White said. “I let him fight the next weekend. He looked incredible. He’s been on this tear and 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 [how long he’s going to be out]. I don’t know what to say. It’s not like he’s over here in this country and we’ve had doctors here look at him or anything like that. He’s sort of out of touch so it’s tough to deal with.”

“Borz” returned to action following a 13-month layoff when he faced former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman at UFC 294 this past October. After an incredible first round where he mauled his opponent, things got a little dicey over the next two rounds as Usman battled back to make it a very competitive bout. In the end, Chimaev earned a majority decision to improve his record to 13-0.

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