UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway was forced out of his scheduled title fight against Brian Ortega at UFC 226 early this month. The reason for doing so, however, has never been established.
Initial reports claim that the 26-year-old Hawaiian fighter was showing “concussion-like” symptoms even before he began his weight cut, urging his coaches to pull the plug on the fight with just three days left. UFC president Dana White was also left dumbfounded about what went wrong, but also concluded that it could be a case of water poisoning due to water-loading.
Other speculations that floated around was a possible stroke, which was brought up by retired UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub.
“I don’t know if it’s come out, what exactly happened. He must’ve gotten clipped or concussed in training camp and cutting the weight,” Schaub said during a recent episode of his Below the Belt podcast. “But I heard when he was cutting weight, I heard he got real scary.”
“That was when his team was like ‘Uh, we need to rush him to the hospital right now.’ I heard it got so scary where a doctor was like ‘This could be a sign of a small’ f—king… Not a heart attack, but a stroke.”
While not mentioning Schaub specifically, Holloway’s manager Brian Butler-Au spoke to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto regarding the stroke rumors, calling out the “media manipulators” who are spreading such information.
Here’s Brian’s full comment: “All I can say right now is we are not sure who’s trying to manipulate the media with stroke rumors. I can’t imagine what kind of doctors would discharge Max from the ER if they actually thought he had a stroke.”
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) July 22, 2018
Late last week, Holloway gave a brief update on his health, stating he has been back in Hawaii for more medical exams and that he is “starting to feel better.”