LAS VEGAS – UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway’s return to the octagon has been postponed again.
Holloway (19-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC) has been hospitalized with concussion-like symptoms and won’t compete against Brian Ortega in Saturday’s UFC 226 co-main event, MMAjunkie verified following a report from ESPN.com.
Holloway’s management team released a statement to MMAjunkie with details:
“Max’s team and UFC staff noticed Max was not normal since late last week. 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.”
The situation continues a brutal 2018 campaign for Holloway. He was forced to withdraw from UFC 222 in March due to injury. He then took a short-notice lightweight title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 in April but was pulled by the New York commission on weigh-in day due to medical concerns.
Holloway, 26, arrived at UFC 226 open workouts on Tuesday and only spent a few minutes hitting pads before wrapping things up. Usually intense, “Blessed” was noticeably low energy. When asked about the workout by MMAjunkie, Holloway diverted from the question and pointed to the size and intensity of the crowd on hand.
“I feel great. I felt the energy from the crowd and stuff. It was crazy,” Holloway said at the time. “I was feeding off of them. It was super crazy. We were just hitting mitts, you know. It’s a show. … Some of these fans, they’re crazy here. They love me here. Like I said, this is like the ninth island of Hawaii. This is perfect.”
Now, Holloway won’t be able to fight at UFC 226, either, and his future is uncertain. It’s unknown at this time if the UFC will attempt to find a short-notice replacement for Ortega, or if the fight will be rescheduled at a later date.