Max Holloway has failed to make weight, canceling the main event of UFC 223 and adding further upheaval to the promotion following criminal charges against star Conor McGregor.
Holloway had agreed to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov on Saturday on just six days’ notice after original challenger Tony Ferguson injured a knee. But Holloway was unable to reach the weight limit for the bout Friday in New York and was ruled out by the UFC medical team.
There was no immediate word if a replacement fighter would face Nurmagomedov.
Holloway apologized on Twitter to Nurmagomedov, saying he wants “to keep going but they are stopping me. Sorry to your team and the fans.”
Holloway was already the 145-pound champion and was trying to become a two-division champ by beating the undefeated Nurmagomedov in the 155-pound title fight at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Holloway and Nurmagomedov were fighting for the lightweight title left vacant by McGregor’s nearly 18-month absence.
The original card had shaped up as the best of the year and UFC President Dana White said it was trending toward the best pay-per-view buy rate since McGregor’s last fight at UFC 205.
But the backstage melee McGregor allegedly instigated instead has forced the removal of three fights because of injuries from the attack. Artem Lobov, a close friend of McGregor’s, was pulled from the card for his involvement. Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg were hurt in the mayhem and forced off the card.
McGregor faces three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief. Video footage appears to show the promotion’s most bankable star throwing a hand truck at a bus full of fighters Thursday after a news conference at Barclays.