UFC 223 is having a rough week.
Featherweight champion Max Holloway has been pulled from Saturday’s main event fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov after being deemed medically unfit to compete. MMA Fighting confirmed the news Friday morning during UFC 223’s official weigh-ins following an initial report by ESPN.
MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani reported that commission doctors put a halt to Holloway’s weight cut in fear of his safety, however Holloway wished to continue. At the time of the decision, Holloway wanted to “keep pushing” and was “close,” a member of Holloway’s team told Helwani.
The loss of Holloway vs. Nurmagomedov marks the fourth fight to be scratched from UFC 223 over a 24-hour span, adding to the trio of fights lost on Thursday because of Conor McGregor’s attack on a fighter bus.
Holloway, 26, accepted the bout against Nurmagomedov on Sunday after an injury to Tony Ferguson derailed UFC 223’s main event six days out from fight night. Holloway’s nutritionist George Lockhart told MMA Fighting that Holloway’s impromptu weight cut was expected to be “tied for the largest weight cut” Lockhart had ever managed.
With Holloway out, the UFC is currently attempting to put together a replacement main event between Nurmagomedov and former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.
Pettis’ original UFC 223 fight against Michael Chiesa was cancelled on Thursday after Chiesa was injured in McGregor’s bus attack. Pettis has yet to weigh-in.
Update: Holloway tweeted out this statement Friday morning.