BROOKLYN, N.Y. – The curses against the UFC 223 card continued today, and now the main event has been scrapped.
Featherweight champion Max Holloway (19-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC) is going to be denied his shot at history in the headliner against Khabib Nurmagomedov (25-0 MMA, 9-0 UFC). Holloway today was declared medically unfit to fight, a promotion official told MMAjunkie at the UFC 223 weigh-ins in Brooklyn, N.Y. The New York State Athletic Commission later made a formal announcement.
“With much regret, and after careful review, a joint decision was made between the state athletic commission and the UFC,” Kim Sumbler, the executive director of the NYSAC, told reporters at the official weigh-ins. “We’ve deemed Mr. Holloway medically unfit to attend the scales (to weigh in). No further comments at this time. We apologize.”
Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com first reported news of the fight cancellation via Twitter, citing UFC President Dana White.
The Nurmagomedov-Holloway fight was supposed to be for the lightweight title currently held by McGregor, who was going to be stripped of it after the bout. Holloway, the featherweight champion, was going to attempt to become just the second fighter in UFC history to hold two titles at the same time. The first was McGregor.
Nurmagomedov may stay on the card to fight former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis for the belt, an official told MMAjunkie. Pettis (20-7 MMA, 7-6 UFC) was supposed to fight Michael Chiesa (14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) on the main card until Thursday’s incident involving Conor McGregor left Chiesa with a cut-up head and face from a broken bus window, which took him out of the fight.
Nurmagomedov made weight early in the two-hour weigh-ins window at the UFC host hotel in Brooklyn. A fight against Pettis would be contingent on Pettis making weight, as well, and getting the official sign-off from the New York State Athletic Commission to compete.
Holloway took the fight against Nurmagomedov on just six days’ notice when interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) suffered a knee injury.
Holloway faced a daunting task to make weight after taking the fight just five days before the weigh-ins, and he needed to fly to New York from his native Hawaii, to boot. But he also was to be fighting 10 pounds heavier than his normal featherweight division. It seemed if anyone was a candidate to miss weight for the fight, it was Nurmagomedov – who infamously had to be hospitalized in 2017 before a planned fight with Ferguson at UFC 209, which scrapped their matchup for a third time. (This week was cancellation No. 4 of the meeting.)
Pettis has lost four of his past six fights, starting with when he lost the lightweight title to Rafael dos Anjos a little more than three years ago. Most recently, he suffered a TKO loss after an injury against Dustin Poirier in the UFC Fight Night 120 main event this past November. It was his second bout back at lightweight after a two-fight stint at featherweight.
If a Nurmagomedov-Pettis title fight doesn’t come to fruition to save the main event, UFC 223 features a women’s strawweight title fight rematch between champion Rose Namajunas (7-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) and former champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) already set for the co-main event. Both of them made weight and came in under the 115-pound limit today.
UFC 223 also lost fights between McGregor teammate Artem Lobov (13-14-1 MMA, 2-4 UFC) and Alex Caceres (13-11 MMA, 8-9 UFC) after Lobov’s alleged participation in the McGregor bus attack incident. And Ray Borg (11-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) will miss his flyweight fight against Brandon Moreno (14-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) after glass shards got in his eye from the broken window.
UFC 223 will take place Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. The main card will air on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.
Stay tuned to MMAjunkie for more on this story as it develops.
The UFC 223 lineup, which has undergone many changes just in the past 12 hours, currently includes:
MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. TBA – for lightweight title
Champ Rose Namajunas vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk – for women’s strawweight title
Calvin Kattar vs. Renato Moicano
Kyle Bochniak vs. Zabit Magomedsharipov
Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta
PRELIMINARY CARD (FS1, 8 p.m. ET)
Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
Chris Gruetzemacher vs. Joe Lauzon
Ashlee Evans-Smith vs. Bec Rawlings
Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Evan Dunham
PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 7:30 p.m. ET)
Devin Clark vs. Michael Rodriguez
http://mmajunkie.com/2018/04/max-hollow ... at-ufc-223
What a fucking mess