Scary Interview Shows How Bad UFC Champ Max Holloway Was Before Scrapped Fight

Steven Rondina@srondinaFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2018

BROOKLYN, NY - APRIL 04:  Max Holloway interacts with media and fans during the UFC 223 Press Conference at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on April 4, 2018 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

The MMA world got a heaping helping of bad news on Wednesday night, as word came out that featherweight champion Max Holloway was pulling out of his hotly anticipated UFC 226 fight just days before the event because of concussion-like symptoms. But while it's a huge disappointment for fans who were looking forward to his scrap with Brian Ortega, there's little question about whether this was the right call for the Hawaiian.

That's because, just hours before the official announcement, Holloway took part in a scary interview with UFC Tonight (h/t MMA Fighting's Luke Thomas):

Just by looking at and listening to Holloway, it's clear that the fighter is off. His speech is noticeably slurred and the left side of his face seems droopy, something that was quickly picked up on by the host, former UFC champ Michael Bisping. Though Holloway insisted that he was fine when asked about it, the fact that he withdrew from the bout shortly after tells the tale.

Despite the fact that he was visibly off just days before he was set to fight, Holloway's team told ESPN's Ariel Helwani that he was looking to step into the cage in this condition:

Ariel Helwani @arielhelwani

Breaking: Max Holloway is out of UFC 226. Here is a statement from his management team, exclusive to ESPN. More coming shortly. https://t.co/PO4Zm0DeBC

Despite the withdrawal, UFC 226 will still take place on Saturday night with the superfight main event between heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier.