UFC featherweight champion, Max Holloway has been forced to withdraw from his title fight at UFC 226. The news, first reported by Ariel Helwani of ESPN, is that Max Holloway is showing signs of a concussion sustained in training.
Holloway’s teammates and UFC staff noticed a change in Holloway’s behaviour, consistent with concussion symptoms. Michael Bisping even noticed during an interview with Max on Fox.
Holloway was apparently admitted to hospital for tests earlier this week, no signs of brain trauma were found in scans but Holloway’s conditioned worsened. Naturally his team made the call to pull him from Saturday’s co-main title fight.
Combate have since added that Brian Ortega will not stay on the card. Although he was offered replacement opponents, Ortega has elected to wait for Holloway’s return.
Although Holloway’s health should be the primary concern, it is worth noting that the UFC are looking to rebook the bout. The promotion are looking to move Holloway vs Ortega to UFC 227, August 4th. Per Lance Pugmire of the L.A Times.
Next month is far too early in my opinion. With the advancements in CTE research, it is strange that the UFC are not taking the subject seriously enough.
A concussion is not the same thing as the effects of CTE, but it is part of the process. If Holloway is not healed enough before re-entering competition, he could sustain life-long effects. It could also harm his performance when the fight happens.
You only need to look at Bisping vs Gastelum to see how badly this situation can be handled, hopefully we do not see history repeat itself.
Holloway is a great star and good for the sport as UFC featherweight champion. Hopefully this great fight will go down when he is ready to compete.