Max Holloway May Have Been Pulled From UFC 226 Due to Water Poisoning

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Max Holloway
Fernando Quiles Jr., MMA News

Max Holloway’s UFC 226 pullout could be down to water poisoning.

Holloway was scheduled to defend his UFC featherweight title against Brian Ortega. The bout would’ve served as UFC 226’s co-main event. Instead, Holloway pulled out due to concussion-like symptoms. Ortega was offered a bout with Jeremy Stephens, but felt three days notice was too risky.

A heavyweight bout between Derrick Lewis and Francis Ngannou ended up taking the co-headlining spot. What was supposed to be a slugfest turned into a snoozer. Lewis won the bout via unanimous decision and wasn’t even granted a post-fight interview.

Many have been wondering about Holloway’s status. “Blessed” released a statement, but the cause of his pullout wasn’t revealed. Some questioned whether or not weight cutting had anything to do with his illness.

UFC president Dana White revealed to Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole that water poisoning could be the culprit (via NY Post):

“We heard that he was water loading, which is super dangerous. When you water load, and I didn’t know this for those of you out there that might not know, either, there is such thing as water poisoning. And you can actually drink too much water and die from it.”

Holloway has pulled out of three straight title bouts. He was supposed to meet Frankie Edgar in the main event of UFC 222, but was pulled due to a leg injury. “Blessed” then stepped up to meet Khabib Nurmagomedov for the lightweight title at UFC 223. A failed weight cut took Holloway out of that fight.

The featherweight champion was last seen in action in a rematch with Jose Aldo. That bout took place in Dec. 2017. Holloway won the bout via third-round TKO. It was Holloway’s first successful title defense. Due to the string of bad luck, Holloway hasn’t fought anyone outside of Aldo since Dec. 2016.

Do you think Max Holloway will return to form once he steps back inside the Octagon?