Brian Ortega Out Of UFC 303 Co-Main Event Due To Illness

Third-ranked featherweight contender Brian Ortega has been declared medically unable to fight hours before he was scheduled to bout 14th-ranked Diego Lopes in the UFC 303 co-main event on Saturday.  

Dan I’ve would be stepping in for Ortega. Lopes had to weigh-in again and the two will fight at a catchweight of 165 pounds.  

Lopes will enter the octagon at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas holding a three-fight winning streak.  He had finished his three previous opponents in the first round.

The change was announced shortly before the main card broadcast.

Several parties were involved including the two fighters, Ige’s coach Eric Nicksick, of Xtreme Couture, and Lopes’ manager Jason House, of Iridium Sports Agency.

“It doesn’t matter — eight weeks, six weeks, four weeks, four hours,” Ige said in his Octagon interview after Saturday’s fight. “It doesn’t matter. This is what I live for. This is my dream. I get to wake up and do what I love.”

Ortega looked noticeably out of it at the official weigh-in on Friday morning, and reports began to surface that he was dealing with an illness as UFC 303 was underway.

Three hours before the main event, Ige sent a direct message to UFC chief business officer Hunter Campbell to ask for a chance to participate.

“Hey Hunter, I’ve been in camp for 3 months,” the message read. “I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been, I can fight this guy tonight and beat him. This is what legends are made of. I’m in. I’m ready. I’m in great shape. Please don’t take this opportunity away from me.”

Ige competed for the first time since beating Andre Fili by first-round knockout in February.