Max Holloway is back home in the islands and reportedly in good spirits after health issues forced him to withdraw from UFC 226.
The Waianae native was scheduled to defend his featherweight title Saturday against Brian Ortega in Las Vegas, but was removed just days prior due to “concussion-like symptoms” and two trips to the emergency room.
UFC president Dana White later told KHON2 he believed weight-cutting was to blame, as the normally 185-pound fighter has dropped down to 145 pounds on the eve of fights throughout his career.
On “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show” podcast Monday, Ortega echoed the sentiment, and offered his thoughts on what should happen if the “Blessed” one is unable to defend his title anytime soon.
“Something felt wrong. Something felt really wrong, from the beginning,” Ortega said. “From the fighter’s award, where he didn’t show up to get his award, to the next day after that with the open workouts and all the media things that you’ve seen. He just, you could tell it was, either he was having a really bad, what I thought was he was having a really bad weight cut, but I didn’t know it was a concussion, and then, I don’t know. Now they’re saying water intoxication. So, whichever one, it’s just, as long as his health is good, that’s all I want for him.
“From what I’m getting now, they said that Max might not fight for a long time, and he might not even fight 45 (145 pounds) they’re saying as well,” he continued. “So I told them then, make the belt vacant and then I’ll fight whoever you guys want me to fight ASAP. I go, I’ll fight them at UFC 227 here in Staples (Center in Los Angeles) but, I go, let’s get that situated.”
There’s no confirmation yet as to what exactly caused Holloway’s symptoms and subsequent removal.