UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway has been pulled out of his fight scheduled against Brian Ortega at UFC 226.
According to a statement from his manager via MMA Fighting, Holloway suffered from concussion-like symptoms and was admitted to an ER.
“He was showing concussion-like symptoms before he even started his weight cut and was rushed to the ER on Monday where they admitted him overnight. Initial scans seemed okay and he was released Tuesday afternoon but symptoms still continued.”
MMA media noticed that the 26-year-old champion was slurring his words during his post-open workout interview and seemed spaced out. The statement continues.
“Max fought with his team to continue with the fight. He showed some improvement over the next day but was still showing obvious symptoms. After open workouts, he crashed and was very hard to wake up, when he did he had a flashing vision and slurred speech.”
This is the third time this year that the featherweight champion has been pulled from a fight. Holloway was scheduled to defend his title against Frankie Edgar earlier this year but pulled out due to a leg injury.
The second time was when he offered to fight the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov on short notice but pulled out due to weight cutting issues.
It is unlikely that Brian Ortega will find a last-minute replacement fight. Ortega’s team have stated that their only interested in a title fight.
Sources note that Holloway’s symptoms are not related to his weight cut as the medical concerns started before he began losing weight to make the 145-pound limit of his division.
Holloway’s withdrawal is the 17th co-main or main event this year that has lost a championship fight due to injury or weight cutting issues.
It is unclear at this point why the 26-year-old champion developed concussion-like symptoms.
Max last fought at UFC 218 against Jose Also in December last year. He currently has a 12-fight winning streak with notable wins over Anthony Pettis, Cub Swanson, and Jeremy Stephens.
Tony Ferguson pulled out of a fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223. Brian Ortega earned the title shot after he beat Frankie Edgar in a fight that Holloway was forced to pull out of.
UFC 226 is scheduled to take place this Saturday with Daniel Cormier moving up in weight to take on Stipe Miocic in the main event. Holloway and Ortega were the co-main event. Heavyweights Francis Ngannou and Derrick Lewis will likely be upgraded to the co-main event.