UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway’s title fight with undefeated challenger Brian Ortega isn’t happening. Not at UFC 226 this Saturday, at least.
“Max’s team and UFC staff noticed Max was not normal since late last week,” Holloway’s management told MMAjunkie shortly after ESPN first reported the news. “This became obvious to many watching his interviews and public appearances the past few days.
“He was showing concussion-like symptoms before he even started his weight cut and was rushed to the ER on Monday where they admitted him overnight. Initial scans seemed okay, and he was released Tuesday afternoon, but symptoms still continued.
“Max fought with his team to continue with the fight. He showed some improvement over the next day but was still showing obvious symptoms. After open workouts, he crashed and was very hard to wake up. When he did, he had flashing vision and slurred speech.
“He is now back in the ER for further tests.”
After this unfortunate news broke, there was a fleeting moment during which it looked as though the UFC might attempt track down a replacement opponent for Ortega, but this plan was quickly nixed. Lance Pugmire of the LA Times, however, is reporting that the fight could be rescheduled for UFC 227, which goes down in less than a month, on August 4 in Los Angeles.
Told by an official close to the situation that @BlessedMMA Max Holloway @BrianTcity Brian Ortega could be shifted to the main event at Staples Center for UFC 227 Aug. 4 depending on Holloway’s health.
— Lance Pugmire (@latimespugmire) July 5, 2018
“Told by an official close to the situation that Max Holloway [and] Brian Ortega could be shifted to the main event at Staples Center for UFC 227 Aug. 4 depending on Holloway’s health,” Pugmire said in a Tweet.
While this is an exciting idea in theory, it’s hard to imagine that Holloway will be fight-ready — let alone able to train with full contact — in 30 days time. Concussions typically take some time to heal.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/5/2018.