Brian Ortega Speaks Out For First Time Following UFC 303 Drop Out

Brian Ortega
Brian Ortega, UFC 303 official weigh-in Credit: Eddie Law/Cageside Press

UFC featherweight Brian Ortega has released his first statement following a chaotic UFC 303 fight week that saw the former title challenger fall out of his co-main event bout with Diego Lopes.

Ortega (16-3) posted the statement on Instragam.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Brian Ortega (@briantcity)

“I’m feeling much better, thank you for all the love. Come fight week I felt off and I didn’t feel right, I thought it was just the residual effects from the cut. I was 178 lb when I accepted this fight on 15 days notice. Thursday night after 7 straight hours, I could not break 151 lb. Later, I would find out that I was battling a fever and I could not break into the final 5 lbs as my body started to shut down.

Rather than risking huge health consequences and possibly calling the fight off, thankfully we were able to move the weight to 155. At weigh ins, I still felt off but I was sure it would go away after I rehydrated and ate.

Late on that night I still felt off and was suffering from cold sweats and no sleep. Finally, I fell asleep at 6 am Saturday morning and woke up at 1 pm hoping to feel better. I could not keep any food or water down nor could I stand up to use the restroom.

I struggled with my own ego, got on a call with Tiki and Hunter, and I made the decision to call off the fight. I dared to do something crazy for the love of fighting, but I got sick and my body gave out on me. I want to give the fans and my opponents my best performance every time I step into the cage.

Diego Lopes I can only imagine what went off on your side, you have nothing but my respect and I’ll talk to Hunter and Tiki and make this right by you. 

To the UFC, Dana, Hunter, and the fans, thank you for having my back.”

The whirlwind of events that took place on fight night saw Ortega withdraw from the bout, and Dan Ige step in with just over 3 hours notice. The new fight was kept quiet from most, even from the commentary team, outside of rumors on social media.

Lopes went on to earn a unanimous decision victory over Ige. Ige for his troubles reported that he was paid 2-3 times his normal pay and given a new fight contract.

No word as to what is next for Ortega as of this post.