Brian Ortega Puts Out First Statement On UFC 303 Fight Fallout: ‘Hopes This Brings Clarity’

"T-City" talks about what took him out of competing at UFC 303.

Brian Tcity
(via @briantcity - Instagram)

Brian Ortega has spoken on what went wrong for him at UFC 303.

Following a number of changes made to the co-main event, the former title challenger accepted a short-notice call to fight Diego Lopes in the featherweight division. Ortega had a little less than two weeks to prepare for the well-rounded Lopes and the weight cut to 145lbs that would come before.

In the hours before weigh-ins, the featherweight fight moved to lightweight after Ortega struggled to cut weight under dire circumstances. But, we’d never see Ortega vs. Lopes at UFC 303 with “T-City” withdrawing on fight day with Dan Ige stepping up on four hours notice as his replacement.

Ortega On What Led To His Withdrawal

Days removed from International Fight Week, Ortega pulls back the curtain and does a deep dive on why he didn’t compete Saturday night.

“I’m feeling much better, thank you for all the love,” Ortega wrote on Instagram on Wednesday. “Come fight week I felt off and I didn’t feel right, I thought it was just the residual effects from the cut. I was 178 I when I accepted this fight on 15 days notice. Thursday night after 7 straight hours, I could not break 151 lb.

“Later, I would find out that I was battling a fever and I could not break into the final 5lbs as my body started to shut down. Rather than risking huge health consequences and possibly calling the fight off, thankfully we were able to move the weight to 155. At weigh ins, I still felt off but I was but I was sure it would go away after I rehydrated and ate. Later on that night I still felt off and was suffering from cold sweats and no sleep.”

Ortega Still Wanted To Fight But, “I Got Sick And My Body Gave Out On Me”

By fight day, Ortega had finally got some rest, but it didn’t stop other health problems from emerging. It was a difficult decision for Ortega to make, but the UFC veteran had seen enough to ultimately pull the plug on the matchup.

“Finally, I fell asleep at 6 am Saturday morning and woke up at 1 pm hoping to feel better. I could not keep any food or water down nor could I stand up to use the restroom. I struggled with my own ego, got on a call with Tiki and Hunter, and I made the decision to call off the fight.

“I dared to do something crazy for the love of fighting, but I got sick and my body gave out on me,” Ortega continued. “I want to give the fans and my opponents my best performance every time I step into the cage. Diego Lopes, I can only imagine what went off on your side, you have nothing but my respect and I’ll talk to Hunter and Tiki and make this right by you. To the UFC, Dana, Hunter, and the fans, thank you for having my back.”

Despite Ortega’s withdrawal, original opponent Diego Lopes is still open to fighting the top-ranked contender later this year after defeating Dan Ige on hours notice at UFC 303. 

Brian Ortega is coming off a submission win against former interim champ Yair Rodriguez in February – not a stranger to facing adversity, hurting his ankle right before the first round began… and still managing to claim victory in Mexico City.

Published on July 3, 2024 at 7:10 pm
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