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Morning Report: Brian Ortega details meeting when he told Dana White he wouldn’t fight at UFC 226

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

When Max Holloway pulled out of his scheduled title defense against Brian Ortega just days before UFC 226, Ortega was put into a difficult situation: take a short-notice fight and risk losing his title shot, or decline to fight and risk not being compensated and angering UFC president Dana White. Ultimately, Ortega chose not to accept any short-notice fight, and while some fighters think that may have been a bad decision, Ortega says there was never any other choice to be made.

“All of [my team] were on the same page,” Ortega recently told Brendan Schaub on Below the Belt. “It never happened in the history of our team. It’s always like [one guys says] ‘I think you should take it,’ [another guy says] ‘No, you’re stupid!’ and then it’s this thing and we finally come to an agreement. This time, I walked in the room and everyone was on the same page...

“[So], we talked to Dana and he was pretty pissed off. He was just in a bad mood, a fight fell through, DC just fell, and then he walks in this meeting. So I tell him, ‘Hey, I’m not gonna fight.’ I’m holding my ground. ‘Listen, with all due respect, I stepped in and fought [Thiago] Tavares on two weeks’ notice, I stepped in and I fought Frankie on three weeks’ notice, and I stepped in and tried to fight Khabib [Nurmagomedov] on six days’ notice. It’s not a scared issued, it’s not that I’m not down for the company. I finished everyone you told me to, every single person you put in front of me, I took their heads off and, like Conor [McGregor] says, I put them on your f**king doorstep. That earned me a title shot and now that I’m here, why go anywhere else besides forward?”

As far as being “a company man” goes, Ortega has been more than willing to step up when to occasion calls for it. as he outlines, Ortega has fought on short notice or against a change of opponent three times in his seven UFC fights, including stepping in to fight Frankie Edgar when Holloway pulled out of his scheduled title defense against Edgar for UFC 222.

Unfortunately for Ortega, the UFC is often a “what have you done for me lately” organization, and at UFC 226, Ortega did a lot, but not the thing they wanted, and so he wasn’t compensated for any of his time. Ortega says that he tried to argue with Dana White but to no avail. He wasn’t interested in an interim title and White wasn’t interested in anything but getting his way.

“The offer was Frankie [Edgar] or [Jeremy] Stephens,” Ortega said. “I was like, Frankie, we just fought him and Stephens, I want to fight for a title, not fight — if you look at it, [Renato] Moicano beat Stephens, [Cub] Swanson beat Stephens, and Edgar beat Stephens, I just finished all three of these guys.”

“[Dana] put on his promoter hat and is like, ‘Listen man, just fight, we’ll work something out,’ and I was like, ‘We don’t need to work anything out. I want Max Holloway or I want the belt.’ [Dana says] ‘Well, we’ll see if we can do an interim belt.’ I’m not fighting for a fake belt. It looks cool but it’s not the real belt. There’s no real money involved with that one. Nothing really goes on in terms of being a champion. You just get something that says, ‘I’m first place.’ It just says I’m next in line for the belt but I’m already here! You just want to put something shiny around my waist to make me feel better. No, I’m not gonna do it.

“I showed up, I was cutting weight, I did all the media, even the media in Spanish. I had to do double the work and do all that in Spanish. Every fighter left and I’m still stuck there doing everything in Spanish. I showed I was a company man. I was down to promote the hell out of this fight, I took extra hours while I’m hungry, starving, to keep doing media. I showed up. Don’t you think that’s worth something? Even if I didn’t take the fight, I did my end of the deal. Then they came back and said ‘Well our deal is to find you a fight and we found you a fight and you turned it down. I did my job, you didn’t do yours. Your job is to show up and fight.’”

It was a tough break for Ortega who was denied a paycheck and a title fight and now is stuck in limbo, waiting for Holloway to heal up and come back. Holloway withdrew from their fight due to concussion-like symptoms and there is no timetable for his return. Since Ortega says he will only fight for the real belt, “T-City” could be in for a long layoff. Unless, of course, the UFC decides to strip Holloway due to inactivity. Holloway hasn’t defended his title since December and has now withdrawn from three consecutive fights this year. Ortega says that if Holloway is going to be out for an indefinite amount of time, stripping him would be the right call, and if they do, Ortega would be happy to fight any of the guys offered.

“I want the belt, I don’t care who has it,” Ortega concluded. “If Max Holloway can’t fight for another six months to a year, that means that would be a full year that he hasn’t defended the title, which means the rules say you’ve got to strip him. I want to fight soon. If he can’t fight, let’s keep fighting. If he can’t fight for awhile, then give me a title fight. It doesn’t matter [against who]. I don’t care. It’s never been about an opponent. I don’t care who it is. Just throw them in front of me and let me do what I have to do. Let me earn the belt.”


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VIDEO STEW

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LISTEN UP

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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Wants to fight so bad.

And now she’s a rallying point for other featherweights.

To be honest, in my opinion. I believe @criscyborg is fighting so hard for this featherweight class. It’s really frustrating not having fights and how they are treating this division. I believe I am a tough fighter,never ran from nobody. My losses came from a frustrating situations in my life. All this time, trying to fight with cyborg is like you having a crush in someone... you try to conquer that person, and you never conquer. Lol . To be honest, it doesn’t matter to me anymore , why ? I am not afraid, because being afraid to me is coward. I have respect for Cyborg. I don’t think is fair either to be waiting 10 months to fight with Amanda... I believe she needs to get a fight before... there’s @dandoiscindy and @pambamsorenson. They are both tough girls.. and There’s me!! I got to frustrated in my career... because I fought so hard for wanting this fight and it never happened. I sent emails to @mickmaynard2 and @seanshelby and always have asked an opportunity to fight with Cris. I have always asked them. I begged for a fight with her... and I sent email saying there’s no one who could beat her. She’s a tough woman. I believe I would make a nice fight because of my grappling. But it’s not fair to be waiting for 10 months to fight. If you call someone out, you have to fight anytime, anywhere. ! I called out @judokayla, if 20 days from now I got a phone call, I will FIGHT !!!! My word has to be completed... that’s my opinion. May God Bless us all !!! Let’s see what will bring to us. God knows the plans.. #psalm91 #Repost @criscyborg with @get_repost ・・・ If Amanda Nunes ‍♀️is hurt and can not fight until next year I do not need to wait 10 months without a fight. I can fight @dandoiscindy @indiagomesmma or @pambamsorenson at #ufc228 or #ufcsp! They are all ranked top 10 and I am healthy and in the prime of my career. I am ready to fight now and should not be penalized because Nunes is hurt #cyborgnation #criscyborg #ufcfn137

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I would settle for this if we can’t get Sage-Perry.

The horror.

Conor never looks comfortable when he poses.

The greatest prize.

10 years too late.

The Russian-Chinese investment fund, Mubadala Investment Company and the Ultimate Fighting Championship announced foundation of UFC Russia. The new company is going to promote MMA and organize new shows in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). M-1 Global is going to be a partner taking care of finding Russian athletes and preparing them for the fights. M-1 Challenge champions will get a unique opportunity to sign contracts with the UFC. M-1 Global president Vadim Finkelchtein: «We are looking forward to further cooperation with the UFC and the Russian-Chinese investment fund working on developing young Russian talents and this will benefit our sports very much. MMA is a very popular kind of sports and cooperation of the UFC, investment fund and M-1 Global can take MMA in Russia to new level. Competition in M-1 Global is going to be even tougher and that means we are going to see even more excellent and spectacular fights!» _____ Чемпионы М-1 будут автоматом попадать в UFC «В смешанных единоборствах России будет больше ярких и зрелищных поединков» 18 июля Российско-китайский инвестиционный фонд, Mubadala Investment Company и американская компания UFC (Ultmate Fightng Championship) объявили о создании совместной компании UFC RUSSIA. Новое предприятие сфокусируется на развитии индустрии смешанных боевых искусств (MMA) в России и СНГ, займется подготовкой и проведением спортивных мероприятий под брендом UFC. Поиском и подготовкой новых ММА-атлетов в РФ займется M-1 Global, которая станет гарантированным трамплином в эту организацию - чемпионы M-1 будут автоматически переходить в UFC. «Мы с нетерпением ждем возможности работать с UFC и РКИФ над развитием молодых ММА талантов в России и СНГ, что, несомненно, поможет развитию этого вида спорта в целом. ММА уже является очень популярным видом спорта среди наших атлетов, и совместная работа с UFC и РКИФ поможет вывести ММА на принципиально новый уровень. Это означает, что в Лиге смешанных единоборств М-1 возрастет конкуренция, будет больше ярких и зрелищных поединков», - считает Вадим Финкельштейн, президент M-1 Global.

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Sage is perfectly on brand.

Coming your way in 2019, probably.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Virna Jandiroba (13-0) vs. Janaisa Morandin (10-1); Invicta FC 31, Sep 1.

Nicco Montano (4-2) vs. Valentina Shevchenko (15-3); UFC 228, Sep. 8.

Karolina Kowalkiewicz (12-2) vs. Jessica Andrade (18-6); UFC 228, Sep. 8.

Carla Esparza (13-5) vs. Tatiana Suarez (6-0); UFC 228, Sep. 8.

Aljamain Sterling (15-3) vs. Cody Stamann (17-1); UFC 228, Sep. 8.

John Dodson (20-9) vs. Jimmie Rivera (21-1); UFC 228, Sep. 8.

Yair Rodriguez (10-2) vs. Zabit Magomedsharipov (15-1); UFC 228, Sep. 8.

Ryan Benoit (10-5) vs. Roberto Sanchez (8-1); UFC 228, Sep. 8.

Charles Byrd (10-4) vs. Darren Stewart (8-3); UFC 228, Sep. 8.

Geoff Neal (9-2) vs. Frank Camacho (21-6); UFC 228, Sep. 8.

A.J. McKee (11-0) vs. Pat Curran (23-7); Bellator 205, Sep. 21.


TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

2008: In his first excursion to light heavyweight, Anderson Silva knocked out James Irvin at UFC Fight Night 14.

2014: Conor McGregor headlined his first UFC event, knocking out Diego Brandao at UFC Fight Night 46.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL

Poll

Should Ortega have taken an interim belt fight?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    Yes
    (473 votes)
  • 72%
    No
    (1248 votes)
1721 votes total Vote Now

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