At UFC 226 earlier this year Max Holloway was pulled from his fight with Brian Ortega during fight week after experiencing “concussion-like symptoms,” but even now, many months later as they prepare to meet again this weekend at UFC 231, his opponent still has concerns about the champions health.
“Both of us did a show in Canada and that was the first time I heard it,” Ortega said at a UFC 231 media lunch. “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.”
So far Holloway seems to be ok heading into fight week, but Ortega is now waiting to see whether the gruelling weight cut that is still to come affects the Hawaiian star.
“He’s made it all the way through his training camp, he’s always successful with that. 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.”
If the worst comes to worst then Ortega has said he’d be willing to fight Renato Moicano, who has been drafted in as a stand-by just in case something goes wrong, but for now he’s hoping that Holloway is healthy come fight night.
“They did all the tests, right? 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.”