UFC 223 will go down in history as one of the most cursed cards the UFC has ever tried to put on.
UFC 223 feels like a doomed card. Having lost its main event due to an injury to Tony Ferguson, it found a reprieve when Max Holloway stepped up to fill in. Then Conor McGregor’s rampage Thursday resulted in the cancellation of three fights, including Michael Chiesa vs. Anthony Pettis. Now, things have gone from bad to worse: Max Holloway, who was undergoing a massive weight cut to get down to the 155lb lightweight title fight limit in time for Saturday’s main event, has been deemed medically unfit to fight.
MMA Junkie reported the news, citing UFC officials, following an initial report by ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. “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, explained (via MMA Junkie). “We’ve deemed Mr. Holloway medically unfit to attend the scales (to weigh in).” Sumbler apologized and added that no further comment would be made at the time.
Holloway, the UFC’s featherweight champion, was looking to become the second man, after McGregor, to hold both the featherweight and lightweight titles in the UFC. Khabib Nurmagomedov, meanwhile, is suddenly in need of a new dance partner.
There are some suitable replacement options. Due to the injury to Michael Chiesa, Anthony Pettis could be available to take the fight. Al Iaquinta had previously offered to step in and face Nurmagomedov. Iaquinta is currently scheduled to face Paul Felder on the PPV portion of UFC 223.
UFC 223 takes place Sautrday, April 7 (that’s tomorrow) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. A women’s strawweight title fight between Rose Namajunas and Joanna Jedrzejczyk is also featured on the card.