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Max Holloway rules out stroke and concussion for UFC 226 pullout: ‘We don’t have the answers’

Max Holloway speaks up in an interview for the first time since he pulled out of his scheduled UFC 226 title fight against Brian Ortega.

Max Holloway photo by Anton Tabuena Anton Tabuena

UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway was forced out of his UFC 226 title fight against Brian Ortega earlier this month due to concussion-like symptoms. While it was speculated that it could have been a concussion, stroke, or water poisoning, there has not been a definite diagnosis, so far.

During Monday’s episode of Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on ESPN, Holloway spoke for the first time since the incident, where he ruled out concussion as the reason, as well as the stroke rumors that floated around.

“That didn’t happen. I didn’t suffer a concussion at all,” Holloway said (transcript via Pundit Arena). “I wish the answer was that simple. It would be easier to move forward if we knew what happened.”

“The word ‘stroke’ never came up. When the rumors came out my first thought was that it was clickbait. I never thought I wasn’t going to fight again. That never ever crossed my mind.”

“I’m a fighter. I wanted to fight,” he added. “When they were telling me to go to the emergency room, I was begging them to let me fight. Hell, when I was doing interviews, there’s some the UFC didn’t even drop because I was horrible in them.”

Holloway has been back in Hawaii to receive treatment, but according to him, doctors are still unable to really pinpoint what went wrong.

”I’ve seen multiple doctors and experts, but they haven’t been able to give any answers about what happened,” he said. “But I’m OK. I’m going to fight again. That’s all we know.”

”All of the tests were great. When you hear those kind of things, it’s great but yet scary. You want to know what’s wrong. It’s crazy we just don’t have the answers. I’m just glad I’m healthy and OK.”

Holloway has been placed on a 30-day suspension by the UFC medical staff, and has yet to determine when his return date would be.

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