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Brian Ortega shuts down Jeremy Stephens, critics of UFC 226 opt-out — ‘I’m not a Yes man’

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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight No. 1 contender, Brian Ortega, worked hard to earn his 145-pound title shot against reigning division kingpin, Max Holloway, and he’s not going to risk it unless it makes sense from a business perspective.

That’s why “T-City” turned down the opportunity to face hard-hitting contender Jeremy Stephens on just two days notice, after Holloway was yanked from the UFC 226 co-main event last weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada.

And it was a decision he did not take lightly.

“I’m a businessman, a company man, but I’m no yes man,” Oretega write on social media. “Watching the fights last night knowing I could have been performing for all of you truly took a toll on me. I stand by my decision. Thank you to all of you who showed up to support and respected my decision. For those of you who don’t agree with me I completely understand and promise to give you guys the show of your life when I fight for the title.”

When or where that happens remains to be seen.

That’s because Holloway has a condition that is difficult to diagnose. The Hawaiian was originally pulled for “concussion-like symptoms” but then rumors started to emerge of yet another grueling weight cut, which left him visibly affected on television.

As for Stephens, he won’t have much time to mope about losing an interim title fight, as he’s set to throw hands opposite former division champion, Jose Aldo, at the UFC on FOX 30 event later this month in Calgary.