Khabib Nurmagomedov shows support for Max Holloway after UFC 226 removal


UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has been here before.

Late Wednesday night it was announced that Max Holloway was forced out of his UFC 226 co-headliner with Brian Ortega after the featherweight champ was hospitalized with concussion-like symptoms.

It’s a position Nurmagomedov (26-0 MMA, 10-0 UFC) is all too familiar with.

Most recently, he missed an opportunity to fight Holloway at UFC 223 in April, when Holloway (19-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC) took the lightweight title bout on six days notice but was pulled by the New York commission on weigh-in day because of medical concerns stemming from his cut. Nurmagomedov also has been the reason a title fight was scratched at the last minute. On the day of his scheduled interim title fight with Tony Ferguson last year at UFC 209, Nurmagomedov was hospitalized and forced out.

Suffice to say, pulling out of a big fight at the last minute is a situation “The Eagle” has dealt with from both sides, which he seemed to acknowledge while sharing some encouraging words for “Blessed” (via Twitter).

Keep your head up Champ, I know what it is, believe in yourself. @BlessedMMA

According to Holloway’s management team, he’s been feeling “not normal since late last week.” Holloway expressed his desire to still fight after an initial visit to the emergency room. However, things took an ugly turn following his UFC 226 open workout Wednesday in Las Vegas, where he was noticeably sluggish.

“Max fought with his team to continue with the fight,” Holloway’s team said in a statement. “He showed some improvement over the next day but was still showing obvious symptoms. After open workouts (on Wednesday), he crashed and was very hard to wake up. When he did, he had flashing vision and slurred speech.”

The withdrawal from UFC 226 continues a disappointing 2018 for Holloway as he’s had to pull out of three consecutive fights for health reasons.

UFC 226 takes place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

For more on UFC 226, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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