Ortega explains decision to decline Stephens fight

Brian Ortega has defended his decision to pull out of UFC226 following criticism from fans.

Ortega had been scheduled to fight featherweight Max Holloway before he was forced to withdraw with concussion-like symptoms just three days ahead of the fight.

UFC President Dana White then tried to convince Ortega to go up against Jeremy Stephens, but he declined, leading fans to boo his decision at a pre-fight press conference.

Ortega later addressed the criticism of his decision in an Instagram post, saying: “I’m a Businessman, a company man, but I’m no yes man,” adding that he stood by his decision.

He elaborated further on Monday during an interview on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, saying that he did not want to give away his hard-earned title shot.

“The fight of my life was right there,” Ortega said. “It was right within reach within (three) days, and it got pulled from me.

“Before, I’d take a fight on (three days’) notice just to prove to the UFC that I need to fight to get that shot, to get that title. But now I have that, and I don’t want to waste it.”