UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway has been pulled from his short-notice lightweight title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 on Saturday night due to health concerns.
Holloway is reported to have been keen to continue cutting weight for the fight, but doctor’s overseeing him decided that it was not safe for him to do so and signalled that he would not be able to compete.
“@TeamKhabib my brother I want to keep going but they are stopping me. Sorry to your team and the fans. You don’t deserve this,” Holloway wrote to Nurmagomedov on Twitter.
There had been concerns about Holloway’s ability to make weight soon after he was first confirmed as a replacement for the injured Tony Ferguson against Nurmagomedov just six days before the event, with his dietician George Lockhart claiming that it would be equal to the biggest weight-cut he’d ever overseen.
Now there is a scramble on to see if an even more short-notice replacement can be found for Holloway, with Anthony Pettis and Paul Felder both believed to have already been considered as stand-ins to fight Nurmagomedov for the belt.
However, at this time its looking increasingly unlikely that either fight will happen, with Felder already revealing that he’s out of the picture, stating, “I tried to get it. The commission is stopping it.”
If that is the case then it’s likely that the event will proceed with a co-main event title rematch between Rose Namajunas and Joanna Jedrzejczyk moving up to the headline role.