Brian Ortega already explained his stance regarding his refusal to take on a short notice fight at UFC 226.
Brian Ortega explained the exact details of his meeting with Dana White right after the pre-event press conference.
He revealed during Brendan Schaub‘s podcast ‘Below the Belt’,
“(White) was pretty pissed off. He was just in a bad mood,” Ortega said.
“Fight fell through, I didn’t realize DC just fell on the stage. And then he walks in this meeting, and I’m over here telling him, ‘Hey, man, I’m not going to fight.’ Like, I’m holding my ground.”
“I said, ‘Listen, with all due respect, I stepped in and fought (Thiago) Tavares on two weeks’ notice, I stepped in and fought Frankie (Edgar) on three weeks’ notice, and I stepped in to try to fight Khabib (Nurmagomedov) on six days’ notice.’
“I go, ‘It’s not a scared issue. It’s not that I’m not down for the company.’
“I go, ‘Now it’s just, I finished everyone you told me to. Every single person you put in front of me, I took their heads out, like Conor (McGregor) says, and I put them on your (expletive) doorstep.’ I go, ‘And that earned me a title shot. Now that I’m here, why go anywhere else besides forward?’”
Ortega further described Dana White‘s reaction.
“He put on his promoter hat,” Ortega said.
“He’s like, ‘Listen, man, just fight. Blah, blah, blah, we’ll work something out.’ And then I was like, ‘We don’t need to work anything out. I want Max Holloway, or I want the belt.’
“He says, ‘I’m going to see if we can do an interim fight.’ I was like, ‘I’m not fighting for a fake belt. It looks cool, but it’s not the real belt, doesn’t get you the real – there’s no real money involved with that one, nothing that really goes on in terms of being the champion.”
“You just get something that says I’m in first place. It just says I’m next in line for the belt.’ Which is like, I’m already here, right? You just want to put something shiny around my waist to make me feel better. I was like, ‘No, I’m not going to do it.’”
Ortega, who was denied even his show money, revealed his displeasure at the situation.
“I’m like, ‘I’ve been showing you I’m a company man,’” Ortega said.
“‘I’m down to promote the hell out of this fight. I’m taking extra hours while I’m hungry, starving to keep doing media.’
“I was like, ‘And I’ve been cutting weight, did the open workouts, ready for media. I showed up. Don’t you think that’s worth something?’
“That’s worth something even if I didn’t take the fight. Still, I go, ‘I did my end of the deal.’ And then they came back and it was like, ‘Well, our deal is to find you a fight, and we found you a fight, and you turned it down.’
“I was like, ‘Not really.’ … He goes, ‘Well, I did my job. You didn’t do yours. Your job is to show up and fight.’”
It remains to be seen if Brian Ortega is still in the good books of the UFC and if he will retain his No.1 Contender spot.