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Report: Khamzat Chimaev has COVID-19, December 19 fight in jeopardy

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It’s a race against time (and maybe regulations) to see if Chimaev can recover and test negative in time to still fight.

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

As if losing this weekend’s UFC Vegas 15 main event between Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis to Coronavirus wasn’t bad enough, it looks like the highly anticipated main event between Khamzat Chimaev and Leon Edwards for UFC Vegas 17 may end up getting cancelled for the same reason.

Swedish MMA news site Kimura.se is reporting that Khamzat Chimaev tested positive for COVID-19 after suffering from flu like symptoms.

In any sane sport you’d imagine this would result in the bout being immediately cancelled, but Kimura says Chimaev’s team is currently trying to figure out if Chimaev can still compete. We’d expect nothing less from Khamzat, who has gained quite a reputation since debuting four months ago in the UFC as the ultimate anyone, anywhere, any time kind of fighter.

Of course, it’s not completely up to Chimaev. The UFC may not be willing to roll the dice and see whether the Chechen fighter manages to completely clear the virus from his system in 20 days. And then there’s the Nevada State Athletic Commission, who may have a thought or two about allowing someone fresh off a COVID-19 infection into the cage.

The only silver lining to this particular rain cloud is that UFC Vegas 17 on December 19th remains a stellar card even without Chimaev vs. Edwards at the top of the event.

Of course, that’s assuming the Coronavirus doesn’t end up knocking out any more fights (or the UFC’s ability to go ahead with the card in Las Vegas).

UFC president Dana White certainly didn’t sound positive regarding the Coronavirus situation. After weeks of insisting COVID-19 issues would somehow disappear following the election, his new take on the situation is even more WTF and grim.

“COVID, for me, COVID is one of these things we’re all going to get,” he said with a shrug following UFC Vegas 15. “We’re all going to get it. I haven’t got it yet. I’ve been travelling, I’ve been living a pretty normal life. I haven’t got it yet. It’s like the flu, it’s like the cold. We’re all going to get it.”

Tell Cody Garbrandt it’s just like the flu.

*UPDATE* Not exactly a denial but a confirmation that Chimaev is still expecting to fight on December 19th: