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17th Jul 2018

‘Word on the street is Max Holloway got knocked out in training’ – Michael Bisping

He was rushed to hospital with 'concussion-like' symptoms

Ben Kiely

Max Holloway was in a very bad way when he was forced to pull out of UFC 226

Three days before he was set to defend his belt against Brian Ortega, undisputed UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway was rushed to the emergency room. A statement from his team revealed he was suffering concussion-like symptoms including “flashing vision” and “slurred speech” Once that statement dropped, the lament for the lost fight quickly transformed into genuine concern for ‘Blessed’.

There has still been no confirmation regarding what happened to Holloway. His team maintain that it had nothing to do with his weight cut or a concussion suffered in sparring. The only information we received of any significance was from the UFC president. Dana White suggested water poisoning as a potential reason for his withdrawal during an interview with Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports.

“He’s saying that he didn’t get knocked out, he didn’t get rocked, none of that. But on Monday when I heard about this, we heard that he was water loading which is super dangerous. When you water load – I didn’t know about this for those of you that might not know either – there’s such thing as water poisoning, and you can actually drink too much water and die from it.

“There are a lot of theories out there right now, we don’t really know what’s wrong with him, but we’re going to find out.”

7DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 02: Max Holloway (L) battles  Jose Aldo of Brazil (R) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena on December 2, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Out for the Count

Michael Bisping was one of the first people to notice something was wrong with Holloway. “The Count” raised concerns about Holloway’s physical appearance during an interview on UFC Tonight. It wasn’t long after this TV spot when Holloway withdrew from the card.

The former UFC middleweight champion’s role in this story didn’t stop there. On a recent episode of his Believe You Me podcast, he claimed to have heard a rumour regarding Holloway’s hospitalisation.

“Apparently, he had a concussion in training camp. Word on the street is he got knocked out in training and suffered a concussion. But he was still going to fight. Obviously, that could have been very, very damaging for him.”

No one knows this to be true. But if it was, it’s very understandable why his team wouldn’t want this getting out.

Irish MMA fans will know all about the perils of a knockout in training all too well. In 2015, Joseph Duffy was set to make his homecoming against Dustin Poirier in a headliner spot in Dublin. Unfortunately, the fight was scrapped the week of the fight after the Donegal man suffered a flash knockout in his last sparring session of the camp. The fight was surprisingly booked again three months later. Poirier won via unanimous decision.