Last night, UFC 226 was dealt a crippling blow as featherweight champ Max Holloway was forced out of his co-main event featherweight title fight with challenger Brian Ortega. Holloway was pulled from the card, which goes down Saturday night in Las Vegas, Nevada, with “concussion-like symptoms.”
“Max’s team and UFC staff noticed Max was not normal since late last week,” Holloway’s management told MMAjunkie shortly after this unfortunate news was broken by ESPN. “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.
Unsurprisingly, this news gutted the MMA community. Fighters and fans from all over the world took to social to share their disappointment with the news, and to wish the champion Holloway well.
Even Conor McGregor, the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion, and one of the three men to defeat Holloway, took to Twitter to wish the champion well. McGregor even conceded that Max Holloway is now the true owner of the UFC featherweight title — a belt he never really lost.
My thoughts and my respect are with 145lb World Champion Max ‘Blessed’ Holloway.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) July 5, 2018
Conor McGregor and Max Holloway fought in August of 2013. McGregor won the fight by unanimous decision, and later captured the featherweight title by knocking out Jose Aldo. McGregor was then stripped of the title for inactivity. Not long thereafter, Holloway, who had not lost since meeting McGregor, claimed the title with his own stoppage defeat of Aldo.
What do you think of Conor McGregor’s reaction to Max Holloway’s unfortunate withdrawal from UFC 226?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/5/2018.