Max Holloway’s UFC 226 title defense against Brian Ortega has been pulled from this coming Saturday night’s card due to the champion currently suffering “concussion like symptoms” per Ariel Helwani of ESPN.com.
It’s been reported that Holloway has been suffering these issues since last week. After today’s open workouts in Las Vegas, the champ “crashed” according to his manager and was extremely hard to wake up. Once he was woken, he was dealing with flashing vision and slurred speech according to Helwani. Holloway was taken to a local hospital where he is undergoing further testing.
This is yet another case of an International Fight Week PPV suffering a major blow during fight week. Last year’s UFC 213 card lost a women’s bantamweight title bout between Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko when Nunes pulled herself from the card due to illness.
In 2016, UFC 200 lost the highly anticipated rematch between Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones when Jones was flagged by USADA. Both of the aforementioned bouts would eventually be re-booked.
And of course in 2015, UFC 189 would lose Jose Aldo versus Conor McGregor due to a rib injury that Aldo simply could not work through in time to be ready for the fight. Chad Mendes would fill in as a short notice replacement and the card would still do a very solid buy rate although it certainly would’ve done better had Aldo remained on the card. McGregor and Aldo would hook up later that year to fall just short of the PPV record at the time.
The LA Times is currently reporting that Holloway-Ortega could be shifted to UFC 227 in Los Angeles early next month depending on the health of the Hawaiian. If this report is indeed true, the odds of a replacement opponent being sought for Ortega this weekend is highly unlikely.
UFC 226 will be headlined by Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic and Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier in what is being advertised as a “super-fight” for Miocic’s title. If a replacement for Ortega is not found, the scheduled heavyweight bout between Derrick Lewis and former title challenger Francis Ngannou would be slotted in to the co-main event position.
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