No one’s quite sure what led to Max Holloway’s withdrawal from UFC 226, and Dana White is none the wiser.
Holloway, the reigning featherweight champion and top-ten ranked pound-for-pound fighter, is reported to have suffered ‘concussion-like symptoms’ after Wednesday’s open workouts and was immediately rushed to hospital. The Hawaiian was expected to defend his title against No. 1 contender Brian Ortega in the co-main event.
Speaking at the UFC 226 press conference on Thursday, White said medical staff aren’t exactly sure what’s wrong with Holloway and that ‘Blessed’ will be out of action for the foreseeable future.
“It’s a weird situation,” White said at a press conference for UFC 226 on Thursday, per MMA Fighting’s Alexander K. Lee. “I was talking to Jeff Novitzky in the back and there’s a couple of different — some people think it’s concussion-related and some people think it’s weight cut-related, so they haven’t really got down to the bottom of what it is. But according to him he feels fine but obviously he’s not fine. So we’re going to continue to try to figure out what’s wrong with Max Holloway.
“In the meantime, there’s no way that this guy is going to fight anytime soon.”
This marks the third time Holloway has had to pull out of a headlining bout this year, as the 26-year-old talent was forced to withdraw from his title defense against Frankie Edgar at UFC 222 and was deemed medically unfit to continue cutting weight for his lightweight title bout with Khabib at UFC 223.
White, the UFC president, said medical officials are running ‘every test’ there is on Holloway to ‘figure out’ what’s wrong.
“We’re running him through every test there is. … He needs go to the Mayo Clinic or one of these types of places and do a full — yes, we will take care of Max Holloway and he’ll go through every type of testing there is until we can figure out what’s wrong with him,” he said.
White said Ultimate Fighting Championship has done everything they could to prevent this type of situation from occurring, citing the UFC’s free nutrition and weight cutting advice available to all athletes, for free, at the Performance Institute in Las Vegas.
“It’s impossible,” White said. “It’s impossible to ensure what happened to Holloway doesn’t happen. Listen, you’re dealing with human beings. People get sick, things happen, it’s unfortunate, but it happens. There’s nothing we can do about it.
“We’ve done everything you could possibly try to do to make these guys healthier, to give them a safer place to train, eat the right foods, we have a restaurant at the PI where they can eat for free and we’ve done everything that we can possibly do to try and limit this.”
While Holloway’s removal from UFC 226 is a big blow to the fight promotion, the pay-per-view is still one of the most stacked events of the year. Stipe Miocic will defend his heavyweight title against light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier in the main event, and a pivotal heavyweight bout between Francis Ngannou and Derrick Lewis will feature as the new co-main.
The UFC 226 PPV takes place tomorrow night, July 7 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.