Max Holloway can’t seem to catch a break.
For the third time this year, the featherweight champion has been forced to withdraw from a fight — this time the UFC 226 co-main event against Brian Ortega. According to multiple reports, Holloway was struggling with concussion-like symptoms throughout the week, which eventually led to him being pulled from the card. ESPN was first to report the news of Holloway’s exit on Wednesday evening.
Holloway was hospitalized on Monday due to concussion symptoms before beginning his weight cut. Although he was released on Tuesday, his condition didn’t improve enough for him to go through with the fight.
Holloway’s management released the following statement regarding the 145-pound champion’s status:
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.
Holloway was scheduled to defend his title against Frankie Edgar at UFC 222 in March but was forced to pull out of that matchup due to a leg injury. Then, he stepped in on short notice to replace Tony Ferguson against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 but had to exit the card after being deemed medically unfit to compete at weigh-ins.
It is currently unclear if the UFC will seek a replacement opponent for Ortega, who earned his title shot by stepping in for Holloway and knocking out Edgar at UFC 222.