Sport MMA

Thursday 21 February 2019

Max Holloway medically unfit to fight as UFC 223 descends into farce

Max Holloway
Max Holloway

Luke Brown

Max Holloway has been declared "medically unfit to fight" at UFC 223, meaning his headline bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov has been cancelled.

Holloway, the reigning UFC featherweight champion, stepped in as a late replacement for interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson, accepting the fight on just six days' notice.

The 26-year-old hoped to become just the second fighter after Conor McGregor to hold titles in two divisions simultaneously, but was unable to safely cut weight ahead of his scheduled bout.

"Max wants to keep pushing and is close but the doctors came up and just stopped it," a member of his team told MMA Fighting. "Doctors stopped it not us. Max was going."

Holloway's withdrawal means UFC 223 – the promotion's biggest event of 2018 – is now down to just nine fights, after a backstage melee involving McGregor saw three bouts scrapped on Thursday night.

Renowned MMA journalist Ariel Helwani has tweeted that Al Iaquinta has offered to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov and his "team is actively pushing for the fight right now".

Video footage appears to show the promotion's most bankable star throwing a hand truck at a bus full of fighters after a Thursday news conference for UFC 223 at Brooklyn's Barclays Center.

The New York Police Department says McGregor was charged and awaiting a court appearance Friday, facing three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief.

UFC President Dana White said Friday he spoke to McGregor via text and the brawler said the confrontation was something that "had to be done".

"It was probably the worst conversation we ever had," White told FS1's 'First Things First' on Friday morning. "We talked yesterday before he turned himself in.

"It's not that I don't think he understood what happened. He justified it. It was justified to him.”

Both Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg were injured by smashed glass in the incident – resulting in both of their fights being scrapped – while the UFC pulled Artem Lobov from the card due to his role in the altercation.

Independent News Service

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