Featherweight champion Max Holloway was supposed to defend his title against Undefeated Brian Ortega at UFC 226 but was forced to pull out due to concussion-like symptoms. That left Ortega without dancing partner, but UFC offered him a short-notice fight, but Ortega turned it down saying he would wait for Holloway title fight.
Ortega thought he might still receive some compensation for putting all the effort in the leadup of the fight and fulfilled all the obligation, but ‘T-City revealed his meeting with White, seems like he might not even get a penny, while many people criticised him for his decision, during his appearance on Brendan Schaub’s Below the Belt podcast on Showtime. (Via MMAFighting)
“All of [my team] were on the same page,” Ortega recently told Brendan Schaub on Below the Belt. “It never happened in the history of our team. It’s always like [one guys says] ‘I think you should take it,’ [another guy says] ‘No, you’re stupid!’ and then it’s this thing and we finally come to an agreement. This time, I walked in the room and everyone was on the same page…
“[So], we talked to Dana and he was pretty pissed off. He was just in a bad mood, a fight fell through, DC just fell, and then he walks in this meeting. So I tell him, ‘Hey, I’m not gonna fight.’ I’m holding my ground. ‘Listen, with all due respect, I stepped in and fought [Thiago] Tavares on two weeks’ notice, I stepped in and I fought Frankie on three weeks’ notice, and I stepped in and tried to fight Khabib [Nurmagomedov] on six days’ notice. It’s not a scared issued, it’s not that I’m not down for the company. I finished everyone you told me to, every single person you put in front of me, I took their heads off and, like Conor [McGregor] says, I put them on your f**king doorstep. That earned me a title shot and now that I’m here, why go anywhere else besides forward?”
Ortega said he has no problem in stepping in on short notice fights occasionally, as he had fought three times on short notice and change of opponents in the past UFC fights, including Frankie Edgar when Max Holloway pulled out at UFC 222.
T-City further added, he has done all his pre-fight efforts as far went to argue with White but he seems mad. Ortega wasn’t interested in the interim title fight that angry head boss more who wasn’t interested in anything but getting his way.
“The offer was Frankie [Edgar] or [Jeremy] Stephens,” Ortega said. “I was like, Frankie, we just fought him and Stephens, I want to fight for a title, not fight — if you look at it, [Renato] Moicano beat Stephens, [Cub] Swanson beat Stephens, and Edgar beat Stephens, I just finished all three of these guys.”
“[Dana] put on his promoter hat and is like, ‘Listen man, just fight, we’ll work something out,’ and I was like, ‘We don’t need to work anything out. I want Max Holloway or I want the belt.’ [Dana says] ‘Well, we’ll see if we can do an interim belt.’ I’m not fighting for a fake belt. It looks cool but it’s not the real belt. There’s no real money involved with that one. Nothing really goes on in terms of being a champion. You just get something that says, ‘I’m first place.’ It just says I’m next in line for the belt but I’m already here! You just want to put something shiny around my waist to make me feel better. No, I’m not gonna do it.
“I showed up, I was cutting weight, I did all the media, even the media in Spanish. I had to do double the work and do all that in Spanish. Every fighter left and I’m still stuck there doing everything in Spanish. I showed I was a company man. I was down to promote the hell out of this fight, I took extra hours while I’m hungry, starving, to keep doing media. I showed up. Don’t you think that’s worth something? Even if I didn’t take the fight, I did my end of the deal. Then they came back and said ‘Well our deal is to find you a fight and we found you a fight and you turned it down. I did my job, you didn’t do yours. Your job is to show up and fight.’”
“I want the belt, I don’t care who has it,” Ortega concluded. “If Max Holloway can’t fight for another six months to a year, that means that would be a full year that he hasn’t defended the title, which means the rules say you’ve got to strip him. I want to fight soon. If he can’t fight, let’s keep fighting. If he can’t fight for awhile, then give me a title fight. It doesn’t matter [against who]. I don’t care. It’s never been about an opponent. I don’t care who it is. Just throw them in front of me and let me do what I have to do. Let me earn the belt.”
Ortega wants his shot at ‘Blessed, but with recent talk about Holloway’s illness that may put him out of Octagon for some time, so Ortega is willing to fight as early as UFC 227 – as long as it’s for a title.