LAS VEGAS – In a wide-ranging interview Friday with Yahoo Sports, UFC president Dana White said doctors still aren’t certain what is wrong with featherweight champion Max Holloway, who on Wednesday had to pull out of the co-main event of UFC 226 against unbeaten Brian Ortega for what was first described as concussion-like symptoms.
Max Holloway’s illness still a mystery
White said that doctors are split, and that some believe Holloway’s issue is the result of a concussion while others think it’s because of issues relating to a weight cut.
“According to him, he feels good, but we’ve got to get to the bottom of it,” White said in an one-on-one conversation with Yahoo Sports at the Palms Resort, not long before he inducted former women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey into the UFC Hall of Fame. “They figured it might be concussion. They figured it might be from the weight cut. Nobody knows right now.”
White said Holloway insists he did not suffer a serious blow to the head and said he wasn’t knocked out.
He did say that officials learned that Holloway was drinking large amounts of water, what White called “water loading.”
“It’s super dangerous, when you water load,” White said. “I didn’t know this, but there’s such a thing as water poisoning and you can actually drink too much water and die.”
According to WebMD, water intoxication “boils down to sodium levels. One of sodium’s jobs is to balance the fluids in and around your cells. Drinking too much water causes an imbalance, and the liquid moves from your blood to inside your cells, making them swell. Swelling inside the brain is serious and requires immediate treatment.”
Brian Ortega turned down last-minute replacement
Ortega was offered a bout for the interim title against Jeremy Stephens, but declined it, feeling he didn’t have enough time to properly prepare for the hard-hitting Stephens.
Ortega met with White at the Palms Friday, shortly before Yahoo Sports spoke with the UFC president.
“He feels he’s in line for the title and I told him that this happens a lot in this business and you should jump on every opportunity that pops up, because you never know what will happen,” White said of his conversation with Ortega. “Look at the case of Tony Ferguson. It happened to Rashad Evans, a million other guys we’ve seen this happen to.
“He’s a young kid and even with as good and fast of a rise that he’s had, he still needs a lot of experience in the fight game. We’ll see how this plays out for him.”
Conor McGregor’s legal issues need to be resolved before Dana White reaches out
- White said he hasn’t talked to Conor McGregor or his team about a fight and said he won’t until after McGregor’s criminal case is settled with New York. He said McGregor will not face punishment from the UFC after his criminal case is completed and noted that McGregor may not be able to fight in New York again.
- He discussed the end of Ronda Rousey’s career, giving his take on how she went from being so dominant and winning fights in one-sided fashion to losing badly in her final two bouts.
- He said he thinks ex-heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar will fight in the UFC again, and said Lesnar could be matched with any of the top five ranked heavyweights if and when he is signed.
- White said he wasn’t certain about the status of ex-light heavyweight champion Jon Jones’ drug case with USADA and said he couldn’t plan anything vis a vis Jones as a result.