I’ve had UFC 226 circled on the calendar for a while. It’s part of a Saturday night QUADRUPLE-header featuring Pirates/Phillies at 4 p.m., Union/Atlanta at 7 p.m., and some late night Sixers summer league action.
Unfortunately, 226 will not feature the Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega featherweight title fight, as Holloway was taken off the card due to concussion-like symptoms.
Per Ariel Helwani, who just took a new gig with ESPN:
“Max’s team and UFC staff noticed Max was not normal since late last week,” Holloway’s manager Brian Butler told ESPN via a prepared statement. “This became obvious to many watching his interviews and public appearances the past few days.
“He was showing concussion-like symptoms before he even started his weight cut and was rushed to the ER on Monday where they admitted him overnight. Initial scans seemed OK, and he was released Tuesday afternoon, but symptoms still continued.
“Max fought with his team to continue with the fight. He showed some improvement over the next day but was still showing obvious symptoms. After open workouts, he crashed and was very hard to wake up; when he did, he had flashing vision and slurred speech.
“He is now back in the ER for further tests.”
Take a look for yourself. Max is a relaxed and chill type of guy, but not like this:
— Jed I. Goodman (@jedigoodman) July 5, 2018
That’s from his most recent appearance on UFC Tonight. Former middleweight champ Michael Bisping knew something was up right away.
The Holloway/Ortega fight was scrapped despite a last minute attempt to find a replacement…
UFC called Jeremy Stephens last night with the Ortega interim title fight, per sources. He accepted right away. Once the fight didn’t come to fruition they called about Edgar interim title fight. He accepted that. In between both offers he began cutting to 145. Alas, no fight.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 5, 2018
…and the Derrick Lewis vs. Francis Ngannou heavyweight fight was bumped up to co-main.
Max has been forced to pull out of his last three fights, all of which were scheduled for this year. He did not fight Frankie Edgar at UFC 222 due to a leg injury, then tried to step in for Tony Ferguson to salvage a UFC 223 fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov, which was thrown out when he was deemed medically unfit to fight.
If you’re a casual UFC/Bellator fan or even a non-MMA type and looking to get into the sport, I would still highly recommend this fight card. The headliner is a superfight between heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, two of the best pound for pound fighters in the promotion. Also fighting on the main card is Philadelphia’s Paul Felder, who stepped in to cover for a Yancy Medeiros withdrawal. The Michael Chiesa/Anthony Pettis fight should also be a good one, a bout that had to be rescheduled when Chiesa was injured in the goofy Conor McGregor bus attack from a few months back.