UFC powerhouse Khamzat Chimaev has enjoyed a novel pursuit in between intense training sessions for his long-awaited comeback: relaxing with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a shiny new sports car and MMA fighters on a day trip.
Chechen-born Kadyrov has clearly enjoyed a close relationship with Kadyrov since rising to fame, with the politician making a personal call to persuade him not to retire during his agonizing struggle with Covid-19 and, earlier this year, gifting the hotly-tipped fighter a luxury Mercedes.
After being filmed pushing weights and working on an assault bike in a gym ahead of the anticipated resumption of his unbeaten UFC career, Chimaev chose to relax by heading to the Shira Bena cultural and ethnographic complex, where he sampled local cuisine, and the Akhki Tai tourist base.
Accompanied by Kadyrov, local dignitaries and members of the Akhmat MMA fight school, he also headed to the breathtaking Benoy mountains.
“Taking into account that the guys expose themselves daily to stubborn physical exertion, I decided to organize a vacation for them in one of the most picturesque and beautiful places in the republic,” explained Kadyrov on the Visit Chechnya Instagram account, which is one of the few pages on the social media platform that can comfortably eclipse Chimaev’s following of more than 2.7 million.
“Together, we… breathed in the clean mountain air and enjoyed the beauty and splendor of the local nature. We talked warmly over a cup of fragrant tea and generally had a pleasant time and a good rest.
“I am sure that our trip had a beneficial effect on the health of athletes, allowed them to recover morally and physically.
“After each visit to Benoy, I am convinced by my own example that the local atmosphere, amazingly clean air and picturesque nature fill the body with new strength and improve the mood and general condition of the body.”
While Chimaev posed in a back-to-front baseball cap and t-shirt, Kadyrov wore a tracksuit as the pair met a bear, sat by an artillery monument, stood for a selfie and shook hands in front of a gleaming sports car.
It is not clear whether the vehicle is another car to have been given to Chimaev as a symbol of friendship, although a fan account showed the 27-year-old appearing to test-drive the motor.
Chimaev encountered a spot of bother last month when a video appeared to show that he had crashed the Mercedes given to him by Kadyrov.
The 44-year-old was previously said to have given a car to Russian UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov, at whom Chimaev has taken aim to the surprise of many fans recently.
Chimaev was involved in a curious Instagram exchange with Nurmagomedov’s cousin, Abubakar, last week after the promotion newcomer threatened to “tear apart” the retired lightweight champion, responding to an appearance by Kadyrov and drawing an ominous-looking response from Abubakar.
‘Borz’ replied with a series of provocative posts of his own, although they were swiftly removed, and Abubakar has also replaced his message, which mentioned how Chimaev had sought asylum in Sweden and advised him not to make threats, with the same picture and a brief message saying that he merely liked the photo of himself.
Chimaev has evidently succeeded if his aim was to remind the public of his name after being unable to fight for eight months. The comments of his post with Kadyrov were ablaze with ripostes about Nurmagomedov, many of which reminded him of the sporting icon’s achievements.
The would-be contender donned a shirt as he patted a horse in his next post, insisting that “no hordes will bring us to our knees” and encouraging readers to “go down to the grave as men” – all extracted from a quote by 19th century Chechen commander Baysangur of Benoa.
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