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Brian Ortega addresses late UFC 303 withdrawal from Diego Lopes fight

Brian Ortega has released a statement addressing what went wrong during UFC 303 fight week.

After stepping up on short notice to replace another co-feature that fell apart, Ortega (16-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) was ready to compete against Diego Lopes in the co-main event of UFC 303 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

After completing all of his fight week media obligations, the former featherweight title challenger requested that the bout against Lopes (25-6 MMA, 4-1 UFC) be moved to a lightweight bout just hours before weigh-ins, to which his opponent and the promotion agreed.

Ortega weighed in at 155 pounds but would not make it to the cage on fight night as he withdrew on fight day due to illness, making way for Dan Ige to step up on a moment’s notice to face Lopes.

Wednesday, Ortega addressed what went wrong in a statement posted on Instagram, stating, “To those have always supported me, I’m very grateful for your guys. I hope this brings clarity to you.”

Read Ortega’s full statement below:

“I’m feeling much better, thank you for all the love. Come fight week I felt off and I didn’t feel right, I thought it was just the residual effects from the cut. I was 178 lb when I accepted this fight on 15 days notice. Thursday night after 7 straight hours, I could not break 151 lb. Later, I would fight out that I was battling a fever and I could not break into the final 5 lbs as my body started to shut down. Rather than risking huge health consequences and possibly calling the fight off, thankfully we were able to move the weight to 155. At weigh ins, I still felt off but I was sure it would go away after I rehydrated and ate. Later on that night I still felt off and was suffering from cold sweats and no sleep. Finally, I fell asleep at 6 am Saturday morning and woke up at 1 pm hoping to feel better. I could not keep any food or water down nor could I stand up to use the restroom.

I struggled with my own ego, got on a call with Tiki (Ghosn) and Hunter (Campbell), and I made the decision to call off the fight. I dared to do something crazy for the love of fighting, but I got sick and my body gave out on me. I want to give the fans and my opponents my best performance every time I step into the cage. Diego Lopes I can only imagine what went off on your side, you have nothing but my respect and I’ll talk to Hunter and Tiki and make this right by you. To the UFC, Dana, Hunter, and the fans, thank you for having my back.”

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