Brian Ortega was scheduled for a big-time, co-main event bout with Max Holloway for the UFC Featherweight Title at UFC 226, but that all came crashing down when Max Holloway pulled out days before the event due to injury.
Ortega was reportedly offered an interim title fight with either Frankie Edgar — the man he beat for the No. 1 contender’s spot — or Jeremy Stephens. Ortega, however, chose not to fight and risk his status, saying he wanted the real title and not an interim or non-title fight, and that put him in bad company with UFC President Dana White. During an appearance on Brendan Schaub’s Below the Belt, Ortega opened up about what happened in that meeting.
“All of [my team] were on the same page,” Ortega said. “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 I tell [White], ‘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*****g doorstep. That earned me a title shot and now that I’m here, why go anywhere else besides forward?
[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.
You can watch the full conversation between Schaub and Ortega in the video player above.
Original Story: MMA Fighting