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Morning Report: Max Holloway opens up about battling depression after UFC 226

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Max Holloway
Max Holloway
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Wednesday was World Mental Health Day, a day meant to raise the awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health. So it’s extremely fitting that yesterday, UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway opened up about his own battle with depression that he has been struggling with this year.

Coming off of winning Fighter of the Year in 2017, Holloway had plans for a big 2018 but instead this year has proven to be one he’d rather forget. Holloway has had to withdraw from three fights in 2018, being pulled from a scheduled title defense against Brian Ortega on fight week due to concussion-like symptoms. Speaking with Good Show with Ben Ennis & JD Bunkis yesterday, Holloway discussed how these incidents affected him and his ensuing battle with depression.

“It just helped me as a person realize that sometimes you gotta slow things down to get things back correct,” Holloway said of his recent struggles. “After this last one I dealt with some depression. I was talking about [NBA star DeMar] DeRozan. DeRozan talked about depression and that really shook me. He said that he wished that everybody was rich, that everybody in the world had money so they could understand that money does not make you happy.

“Depression is real and that really hit me hard. I was going through a phase where I wasn’t talking to no one. Only my son. Me and my son would do stuff but I was talking to no one. If I wanted to you I would call you but if people were reaching out to me I was putting myself away. Since I was in that situation, now I’m able to talk about it and I can tell people that’s not the way to do it. The way to do it is talk to your family, talk to your friends, be with everyone because you don’t know when things can change. Life changes on a dime so live life to the fullest.”

Holloway’s withdrawal against Ortega was by far the most concerning. At the beginning of the year, “Blessed” had to withdraw from a bout with Frankie Edgar due to a leg injury and later in the year he was forced out due to his weight cut when trying to step in on just a few day’s notice against Khabib Nurmagomedov. But the withdrawal from the Ortega bout was truly scary as, months afterwards, the cause was still undetermined. Now though, Holloway is physically feeling better and is currently scheduled to face Ortega at UFC 231 on December 8. Still his struggles with his health, both physical and mental, have left a lasting impression on the featherweight champion.

“Don’t be scared to look for help,” Holloway said. “Depression is real. . . It’s crazy and all these guys, us athletes, that keep thinking we’re superheroes. I like to think I’m a superhero but superheroes got to fight their demons too sometimes.”


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Putin. Khabib Nurmagomedov meets with Vladimir Putin following win at UFC 229.

Big numbers. UFC 229 prelims average 1,308,000 viewers, best since Rousey-Holm.

Topical. Fedor Emelianenko explains why he has never let an opponent ‘offend’ him.

Denied. Dillon Danis denies making anti-Muslim slur against Khabib Nurmagomedov.


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Fighter reaction.


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KO of the Week.


Heavy Hands. Discussing UFC 229 and The Flight of The Eagle.

Bushido Talk. Discussing UFC 229 and the recent spat of news surrounding 230-232.



DC not taking that nonsense.

*Check calendar* Two whole years.

Jon is wonderful.

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Unbelievably good promo.


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Saturday night didn’t go my way. This is a very unforgiving sport. You either win or lose. You have to be “ALL IN” to be successful. Mentally I wanted to be there but I have been plagued with injuries this camp as well as my whole career and tried to fight through them and keep a positive attitude but as I started making my final weight cut I started breaking down. I’ve always told myself the second I’m not there mentally and physically I will be hanging my gloves up. I’m too proud and passionate about this sport to not give it everything I have and my body is really starting to pay the toll. After 10+ years as a professional mixed martial artist and 5+ years with the @Ufc it hurts to say this but Saturday October 6th was most likely the last fight of my professional career. I want to thank the @ufc for allowing me to do what I love and give me the opportunity to travel around the world and showcase my skills. Thank you to my coaches @keith_trimble @greggdepasquale @henrihooft @kycerm @roblistrength @docmcamp @dr.amato_pt for putting in the extra time for me. This isn’t a very lucrative sport for coaches so I know all of their time wasn’t for financial reasons. Thank you to my manager @aliabdelaziz000 And @dominancemma_ for always looking out for me and having my best interest at mind. Thank you to all my friends, family and fans who have supported me over the years. You truly are my biggest motivation. Thank you to my parents George and @trishlaflare For molding me into the man I have become. Most importantly thank you to my wife @daniellelaflare and my children, they have to deal with all of the behind the scenes BS that no one gets to see and are always supportive no matter the outcome. I’ve made lifelong friends over the years and nothing can change that. You guys will be a part of me for the rest of my life. #teamlaflare #ryanlaflare

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What a champion this man is.

So many memes for Khabib.

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Sijara Eubanks (3-2) vs. Roxanne Modafferi (22-14); UFC 230, Nov. 3.

Kevin Lee (17-3) vs. Al Iaquinta (13-4-1); UFC on FOX 31, Dec. 15.

Jon Jones (22-1,1 NC) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (18-4); UFC 232, Dec. 29.


1997: Pride FC held their first even, Pride 1, featuring Rickson Gracie submitting Nobuhiko Takada with an armbar in 4:47 seconds.

1998: Rickson Gracie rematched Nobuhiko Takada at Pride 4, this time submitting him in 9:30 seconds.


Khabib gets a 4-month suspension and fined half his purse. Khabib-Conor 2 in New York for next year’s Super Bowl weekend card. Bet it.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.



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