Things finally came to a boil between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega at Thursday’s UFC 266 press conference, and subsequent face-off.
Boiled right over, in fact.
The pair, who coached opposite one another on The Ultimate Fighter 29 earlier this year, have had their acrimonious moments in the past. But what had been simmering for weeks if not months exploded when the duo finally came face to face — and Volkanovski ripped into his upcoming opponent over a past drug test failure.
“I didn’t know about you popping. That sh*t don’t sit well with me,” Volkanovski fired at Ortega during Thursday’s face-off. “You don’t deserve to be here. Mate, you’re a f*cking drug cheat. That’s it. Done.”
Ortega tested positive for drostanolone, a common anabolic steroid, after his UFC debut, originally a win over Mike De La Torre in 2014. The victory was overturned to a No Contest; Ortega was handed a nine month suspension and $2,500 fine.
Once the featherweight champion learned of the infraction, it clearly darkened his already sour outlook on Ortega.
Earlier in the presser, Volkanovski opined that Ortega’s drug use was a sign of weakness.
“Obviously, showing weakness a few years back, popping, producing, you know what I mean? Sh*t like that. That sh*t annoys me. It’s not professional, and I ain’t about that sh*t.” The champion later expressed that he had previously had “no idea” about Ortega’s history with performance enhancing drugs.
The champion also sees plenty of holes in Ortega’s game. “I see a lot of holes. I see, just from every time I’ve spent time with him, I’ve seen weakness. I’ve seen weakness every time. Every time I’ve even talked to the bloke.”
UFC 266 takes place Saturday, September 25, 2021 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. Alexander Volkanovski faces Brian Ortega in the PPV card’s main event.