Brian Ortega – “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung is one of the more bizarre – yet real – MMA rivalries of recent times.
Despite his penchant for spectacular knockouts and submissions, TKZ is known as one of the more affable and respectful personalities of the sport. Meanwhile, his counterpart Ortega was a fan favourite on his march to the UFC featherweight title picture, combining his laid-back attitude with some mean highlight reel finishes of his own.
However, like oil and water, the pair don’t seem to mix well and their feud has lasted well beyond when they were originally set to fight last December.
Ortega was forced to pull out of said fight with a knee injury. Jung and his friend, Korean-American musician Jay Park, appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show and questioned the reasons behind the Californian’s withdrawal from the fight.
“T-City” took umbrage with what was said in that interview and had a physical altercation with Park – who translated for Jung in that aforementioned interview – at UFC 248 in March, shortly before the world was locked down to try and halt the coronavirus pandemic.
Ortega was promptly ejected from the arena. Jung went on to call Ortega a “coward,” and Ortega said sorry to both Jung and Park.
But a worldwide health crisis and an apology hasn’t done much to ease the tensions between both parties.
Out of the blue, Ortega took to Instagram yesterday to accuse The Korean Zombie of “stalling” in their fight negotiations.
“Someone tell Korean Zombie sign the contract,” Ortega wrote on his post. “You been asked multiple times already. Give the fans what they want to see and quit stalling.”
Jung promptly responded, saying Ortega should fly out to South Korea if he wants to make the fight happen.
At present, South Korea permits travel from the U.S. – though visitors are required to self isolate for 14 days upon arrival in the country. The USA currently has heavy travel restrictions in place for anything deemed non-essential.
“I am sure you are aware why I can’t go to the states at this time,” Jung wrote in response to Ortega. “If you would come to Korea, I am ready even in July. Otherwise, stay calm waiting for me. See you soon.”
Though it’s an unexpected rivalry in the UFC’s talent-rich featherweight division, the feud between Ortega and TKZ certainly adds some spice to what should be a fantastic fight to begin with. Get it signed, Dana!