‘T City’ Concerned About Max Holloway’s Unknown Health Issues And Ability To Make It To Fight Night
The year 2018 wasn’t started on a good note for UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway. ‘Blessed’ entered into that year with two consecutive victories over divisional GOAT Jose Aldo, securing his status as undisputed champion in the 145-pound division.
Since then bad news never stops coming his way. Holloway was slated to face Frankie Edgar at UFC 222 earlier in March, but he had to pull out of a title due to a foot injury. He then tried to make a quick turn around to face undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov on short notice for the 155-pound title; unfortunately, that bout fell by the wayside when Holloway failed to make to scale due to extreme weight cut with the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) deemed him unfit to compete on the card. Then at July’s UFC 226 card, ‘Blessed’ returned to defend his title against Ortega, but three days before the event Holloway withdraws from the fight due to “concussion-like symptoms.”
With uncertainty about what’s going on with Holloway, many have feared the worst for his fighting future. At the time, UFC president Dana White also said ‘Blessed’ would be out of the scene for a long time. At one occasion UFC head honcho said he doesn’t know the exact nature of health issue but Holloway is improving.
Despite all the health concerns, featherweight champion made a full recovery and now on his way to defend his title against Ortega this weekend December 8th, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. However, in a recent media lunch, Ortega’s expressed his concerns about ‘Blessed’s’ mysterious illness heading into fight week. (h/t MMAFighting)
“Both of us did a show in Canada and that was the first time I heard it,” Ortega said. “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,” Ortega continued. “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.”
Ortega discussed how Holloway made it close to all the fights he’s pulled out from this year. Especially his last weight cut that made everyone feared about his future. Ortega still concerned what if Holloway withdraws again due to health concerns.
“He’s made it all the way through his training camp, he’s always successful with that,” Ortega said. “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.”
Brian Ortega says he’s looking forward to winning his first UFC title, no matter who stands across him on fight night as long as title is on the line. Brazilian top contender Renato Moicano is playing a role of an alternative fighter in case Holloway or Ortega fail to make to fight night.
“We’ll fight whoever we have to fight,” Ortega said. “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.”
Ortega says UFC doesn’t let Holloway fight if the health scares are serious. Moreover, ‘T City’ also doesn’t want anything bad to happen to featherweight champion inside the Octagon.
“They did all the tests, right?” Ortega said “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.”
Holloway (19-3) is currently riding a 12-fight winning streak in the UFC, while Ortega 27, is 6-0 with 1 NC in the UFC Octagon.