Khamzat Chimaev recently penned a lucrative UFC contract that has the potential to propel his earnings to an astonishing $20 million. This remarkable milestone marks a significant chapter in Chimaev’s already illustrious career.
The journey to this impressive payday began with his victory over Kamaru Usman at UFC 294, where he emerged triumphant via a unanimous decision.
Chimaev’s prolonged absence from the UFC octagon, spanning almost a year, understandably raised questions and ignited a whirlwind of speculations within the MMA community.
While some skeptics entertained the notion of a covert USADA violation, the true story behind Chimaev’s hiatus is far more intriguing. As it turns out, contractual negotiations and an unfortunate injury played pivotal roles in his time away.
The UFC is renowned for offering relatively conservative financial incentives to its star athletes. Furthermore, the promotion has a reputation for opting not to let contracts expire but instead choosing to bench fighters as they approach the final bouts of their agreements. This strategic maneuver allows the UFC to maintain exclusive control over the talent they’ve nurtured.
During his hiatus, Chimaev remained dedicated to his training regimen and even made a notable visit to the Xtreme Couture gym. There, he engaged in sparring with Roman Dolidze, a 34-year-old Georgian renowned for his grappling prowess, having previously secured victories in the ADCC Asia & Oceania championships and the Grappling FILA world championship.
Dolidze’s recent history in the UFC might indicate a different story, as he suffered a unanimous decision defeat at the hands of Marvin Vettori at UFC 286. However, it seems that training sessions brought about different results.
According to Merab Dvalishvili, who was present at the gym during the incident, “I was deeply focused on my sparring partner when I suddenly heard an uproar. I turned to see Khamzat Chimaev visibly upset, venting his frustration by striking walls and objects around him. Right beside him, Roman Dolidze stood with a sense of pride. As I continued my sparring session, others informed me that Roman had applied a leglock on Khamzat, who, unwavering in his determination, refused to tap out and regrettably ended up injured. In hindsight, it was a training session, and Chimaev should have considered a tap as a safer option.”