Brian Ortega feels UFC featherweight title should be vacated if Holloway is facing lengthy absence

Brian Ortega

Undefeated featherweight contender Brian Ortega was supposed to battle divisional champ Max Holloway for the title in the co-main event of last weekend’s stacked UFC 226 card. Regrettably, this plan was derailed when Holloway was forced off the card at the last minute — allegedly with concussion-like symptoms, though UFC President Dana White has suggested other issues could have been at play.

“It’s a weird situation,” White said at the UFC 226 pre-fight press conference. “Some people think it’s concussion-related and some people think it’s weight-cut related.

“They haven’t really got down to the bottom of what it is…but according to him he feels fine but obviously he’s not fine,” he continued. “So we’re going to continue to try to figure out what’s wrong with Max Holloway.

“In the meantime, there’s no way that this guy is gonna fight anytime soon. I can’t remember exactly what the timeframe is but he was getting ready for a fight, that fight fell out, he was getting ready for another fight and he didn’t make weight, couldn’t make weight and the list goes on and on…”

Whatever the case, it sounds as though Max Holloway could be out of action for some time, and if that’s the case, Brian Ortega feels the UFC should take action and have the absentee champ vacate the belt. If the promotion were to do so, Ortega would be willing to fight for the vacant belt at UFC 227 on August 4.

“From what I’m getting now, they said that Max might not fight for a long time, and he might not even fight [at] 145,” Ortega said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on Monday (transcribed by Nathan Zur for Sherdog). “So I told them then, make the belt vacant and then I’ll fight whoever you guys want me to fight ASAP. I’ll fight them at UFC 227 here in Staples [Center in Los Angeles] but let’s get that situated.”

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/11/2018.