Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White cautioned mixed martial arts (MMA) fans to not expect reigning featherweight champion, Max Holloway, back inside the Octagon anytime soon after “Blessed” was hospitalized and pulled from this weekend’s UFC 226 pay-per-view (PPV) event due to concussion-related symptoms.
With top contender Brian Ortega opting to ride the proverbial pine until the Hawaiian gets back to his old self again (the non “sleepy” version), the promotion tried to cobble together an interim 145-pound title fight to (unsuccessfully) replace the UFC 226 co-main event.
“It was what it was,” Holloway wrote on social media. “Respect to Ortega and his team. Thank you Dana White and the UFC staff for making my health priority. Also thank you to Jeremy Stephens and Frankie Edgar for being about that champ life and stepping up. I see you.”
The medical diagnosis is a bit hazy and White suggested that some of Holloway’s symptoms could be attributed to his grueling weight cuts, something that booted “Blessed” from the UFC 223 event earlier this spring. Unfortunately, this marks the third time fans have waited for Holloway to compete, only to be disappointed with a late scratch.
“To all the fans, I know this rollercoaster can be frustrating because my team is also on it with you,” Holloway said. “All I can say is I’m truly sorry and I hope you guys stay buckled in because it is far from being over. Don’t let the bad surprises distract you from the good surprises in this great sport. The best is still blessed.”
UFC 226 moved the heavyweight showdown between Francis Ngannou and Derrick Lewis into the co-main event slot and Holloway vs. Ortega is expected to be booked at the end of the year, assuming the champ is able to make a full recovery.