Fight fans received bad news earlier today (Sat., Feb. 9, 2019) when UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker was removed from his main event title fight against Kelvin Gastelum this evening at UFC 234 in Melbourne, Australia, due to a hernia.
Whittaker looked more than fine during UFC 234’s official weigh ins and seemed ready to defend his 185-pound title for the first time. But after experiencing pain in his abdomen after the weigh ins Whittaker was brought to the hospital for further evaluation. It was there that doctors discovered Whittaker’s unique hernia situation and called for emergency surgery.
Fight fans really didn’t know the extent of Whittaker’s injury until a microphone was put in front of UFC president Dana White during the ESPN broadcast of UFC 234’s “Prelims.”
“He’s in the recovery room. I was with his wife and family,” said White. “This is one of those freak accidents where the doctor said literally they’ve never seen this type of injury in a young person. This usually happens to old people.”
“His bowel and intestines poked through the hole,” explained White. “It didn’t happen yesterday after the weigh ins. They think he’s had this problem and it’s been going in and out. It’s one of those situations had it popped out during the fight it could have been fatal for him.”
Crisis adverted. Sort of.
While many fight fans feel fleeced following UFC 234’s main event fallout, at least Whittaker was able to get the medical care he needed. If all goes well with Whittaker’s surgery, the middleweight champion will be back to the grind next month.
“This is really serious,” reiterated White. “We don’t know exactly what happened with the doctor. Hopefully they popped it back in and sewed it up. And if that’s the case he’ll be four weeks. This was a freak injury. Less than one percent.”
With Whittaker vs. Gastelum no longer leading the show, UFC 234 will feature a main event bout between former UFC champion Anderson Silva and undefeated striking sensation Israel Adesanya.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 234 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.
Stick with Mania for more updates on Whittaker’s injury.