UFC coach admits ‘worry’ during Chechen star’s weight-cut woes
Khamzat Chimaev's coach has issued an apology after his fighter missed weight ahead of a scheduled UFC 279 main event fight with Nate Diaz last weekend, which forced the UFC to scramble at the last moment to rejig the fight card.
The unbeaten welterweight contender weighed in more than 7lbs over his contracted limit, prompting the UFC to usher him into a short-notice catchweight fight Kevin Holland – with whom Chimaev had become entangled in a heated confrontation backstage which forced the cancelation of the pre-fight press conference.
And Andreas Michael, the man who has guided Chimaev during his ascent up the rankings, offered no excuses for his fighter's 'unprofessional' behavior.
“His whole career he’s been fighting at welterweight,” Michael said to Ariel Helwani on 'The MMA Hour'.
“He’s missed weight this time, but it’s not as if he’s been missing weight all the time. Of course, he’s been having a hard time making weight, but he’s always made weight.
“The point of the thing is that we’re going to make it easier and fight at middleweight some of the fights, but we’re game for welterweight as well.”
Michael added that the reason for his trouble on the scales was an obvious one: Chimaev started his training camp at too high a weight, but also said that he became seriously concerned for his fighter after he began to experience worrying complications as he attempted to drop weight.
“We started this camp heavy,” Michael said.
“That’s what the problem was as well. We got an offer to fight Nate Diaz, and it was earlier than this in August. It was too soon because he was heavy. Then they moved it 10 days up, and 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.
“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.”
Perhaps more pertinently, though, Michael stated that Chimaev was vomiting and was close to losing consciousness before the decision was made to halt his weight cut – and that Chimaev continues to suffer from health issues related to his battle with Covid-19 in late 2020.
“He was getting muscle spasms, shaking,” Michael explained.
“Vomiting. 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. 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.”
Chimaev ultimately defeated his new opponent, Kevin Holland, by first round submission to improve his record to 12-0, but as for his next move?
That will depend on which weight class he competes but more crucially, whether or not he remains entrenched in Dana White's bad graces in the aftermath of UFC 279.