Brian Ortega: Vacate the Belt if Max Holloway is Out Indefinitely

By Nathan Zur Jul 11, 2018

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has not provided an official diagnosis on why current featherweight champion Max Holloway was forced to pull out of last Saturday’s co-main event at UFC 226 other than to say the Hawaiian had “concussion-like symptoms.”

A week from his withdrawal, it seems the symptoms could have been brought on by another brutal weight cut which may have resulted in water poisoning as Holloway was trying to lose weight to hit his 145 pound goal.

“We heard that he was water loading, which is super dangerous,” UFC President Dana White told Kevin Iole. “When you water load, and I didn’t know this for those of you out there that might not know, either, there is such thing as water poisoning. And you can actually drink too much water and die from it.”

Holloway’s withdrawal meant his challenger, the undefeated Brian Ortega, didn’t get to fight despite being offered a last minute bout with the heavy-hitting Jeremy Stephens. Ortega declined the proposal and instead signalled he wanted to wait for Holloway to get healthy again, although he may be waiting for some time.

“From what I’m getting now, they said that Max might not fight for a long time, and he might not even fight [at] 145,” Ortega said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show. “So I told them then, make the belt vacant and then I’ll fight whoever you guys want me to fight ASAP. I’ll fight them at UFC 227 here in Staples [Center in Los Angeles] but let’s get that situated.”

There were further issues for Ortega, who claimed he hasn’t been paid for the scheduled bout on Saturday night despite the fact he made weight and did the mandatory open workouts and attended his media commitments. Ortega told Helwani that Dana White had initially denied his request to receive a portion of his purse for completing his commitments.

“We had our talk. We agreed to disagree pretty much, I told him if I was going to be compensated for anything, you know, if I would get anything. I told him I showed up, I did everything, my weight was good, did the open workouts, the media and he said, ‘No,’” explained Ortega.

Ortega said his first meeting with White was just after Daniel Cormier had fallen over after the pre-fight press conference and the President was probably “pissed” at what had just transpired.

Although the second meeting between the pair came after Ortega refused to fight Stephens at short notice, White apologized for the way it went down, according to Ortega.

“So that was that. I was pretty bummed out, heartbroken. After that, we had another meeting yesterday. We talked and he said he was just pissed off. He then said we’d talk again this week and figure things out. So right now, I don’t know what ‘figure things out’ means,” he added.

As was the arrangement with the men in the main event at UFC 226 between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier, Ortega was going to receive a flat rate for his title fight against Holloway. Ortega understands he shouldn’t get the entire fee but believes he should get something to cover his fight camp expenses.

As it stands, Ortega has not been paid anything for the event and his third meeting with White has yet to happen.

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