Ortega: What is going on with the issue that pulled Holloway last fight?
UFC featherweight champ Max Holloway withdrew from a fight vs. Brian Ortega at UFC 226 after exhibitng concussion like symptoms. Now the pair fight at UFC 231 on Saturday, but exactly what happened to Blessed is not fully understood.
“Both of us did a show in Canada and that was the first time I heard it,” said Ortega at a media lunch, as transcribed by Marc Raimondi for MMA Fighting. “He was like, ‘We still don’t know what it is.’ I looked over during the show like, What the f*ck do you mean you don’t know what it is? I was like, Are you serious? And we’re scheduled already not too far from now. I don’t know. I pray for the guy and I hope he’s good.”
“He’s made it all the way through his training camp, he’s always successful with that. It’s just these last … I don’t know if the [weight] cutting triggers something. I don’t know what it is. He doesn’t know what it is. But there is a concern there. Obviously, he is the best and I want to fight him. That’s why he’s got the belt around him. For me to fight him, it would secure my name at the top as well.”
“They did all the tests, right? They evaluated, they made sure he was healthy. The UFC, being the name that they are, I don’t think they’re gonna let someone go in there if they’re not in the right state. What does kind of seem a little bit off is the the fact that they still can’t seem to figure out what’s going on. That’s kind of where it’s like, well are you guys being professional with this? Or do you guys really want to push this fight? I don’t know.
“My concern is always for him. I said it before, even though we’re fighting, I still have respect and love for the guy. He has a family, he has a kid and I don’t want to be the guy that triggers something bad to happen. I wouldn’t like to live with myself with that.”
“When I seen him and the way that he was talking and everything, low key I was like, I could see myself partying with you' I could see myself hanging out with you. He’s from Hawai'i, I have a lot of love for Hawaiians, we go there all the time, surf and everything. I even said it before, it’s gonna suck. Because you have two guys — this guy is dope, I consider myself a cool person. But we have nowhere to go, though. It’s either you vacate it and you move up a weight class and we keep doing this, or we have what we have now, which is we fight each other.”
The UFC will have Renato Moicano weigh in and serve as a backup.
“We’ll fight whoever we have to fight,” said Ortega. “At that point, if it’s for the belt and they say that Max can’t fight, I can’t do that to the fans twice. Regardless on Saturday, I’m gonna fight no matter who it is.”