Brian Ortega reacts to Max Holloway’s UFC 226 withdrawal

Brian Ortega

Last night, UFC 226 was dealt a crushing blow as featherweight champion Max Holloway was forced out of his co-main event featherweight title fight with undefeated challenger Brian Ortega. Holloway was removed from the card, which goes down this Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada, with concussion-like symptoms — truly not the kind of thing to take lightly.

“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 broke. “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.”

Unsurprisingly, this news gutted the MMA community. Fighters and fans from far and wide took to social to share their disappointment with the news and wish Holloway well. Holloway’s opponent Brian Ortega, however, was initially quiet.

Early on Thursday morning, Ortega broke his silence with a quick and characteristically chill statement on the ordeal.

“It is what it is,” Ortega said in his statement, quoting Holloway. “We’ll run this shit later.”

Although the UFC has been known to call on replacement opponents in situations like this in the past, Ortega has been pulled from the card altogether. He will not be given a replacement opponent. The silver lining, of course, is that UFC 226 is still one hell of a fight card. Let’s just hope the notoriously merciless MMA gods have had their fill. Knock on wood.

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/5/2018.