Max Holloway released a statement Friday two days after pulling out of the planned co-main event against Brian Ortega for UFC 226 on Saturday.
"It was what it was. Respect to Ortega and his team. Thank you @danawhite and the @UFC staff for making my health priority. Also thank you to @lilheathenmma and @frankieedgar for being about that champ life and stepping up. I see you. To all the fans I know this rollercoaster can be frustrating because my team is also on it with you. All I can say is I’m truly sorry and I hope you guys stay buckled in because it is far from being over. Don’t let the bad surprises distract you from the good surprises in this great sport. The best is still blessed. #Blessyourself"
Per ESPN's Ariel Helwani, Holloway pulled out of the fight due to concussion-like symptoms, which resulted in a visit to the emergency room Monday.
Holloway also thanked Frankie Edgar and Jeremy Stephens following a report that they nearly replaced him and Ortega on the UFC 226 card.
Per ESPN's Brett Okamoto, sources indicated that UFC tried to book Edger and Stephens in a fight for the interim featherweight title.
Although Edgar reportedly wanted to do it, he had to decline on such short notice.
Additionally, Holloway expressed his gratitude to Michael Bisping, who noted during an interview prior to pulling out of the fight that Holloway looked sleepy:
The 26-year-old Holloway is the current UFC featherweight champion after beating Anthony Pettis for the interim title at UFC 206 and then defeating Jose Aldo to win the undisputed title at UFC 212.
Holloway followed that up by beating Aldo in a rematch at UFC 218 in December.
In 22 career fights, Holloway boasts a 19-3 record. His last loss came at UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen in 2013 when he dropped a unanimous decision to Conor McGregor.
With neither Holloway nor Ortega competing at UFC 226, the UFC heavyweight title fight between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier is the unquestioned top bout on the card.