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Robert Whittaker returns to his family, needs to ‘slow things down’ following UFC 248 withdrawal

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Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker, was forced to withdraw from his UFC 248 showdown against Jared Cannonier, which was scheduled for March 7, 2020 inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“The Reaper” originally told the mixed martial arts (MMA) community that his priorities had changed ahead of the “Sin City” pay-per-view (PPV) event and recently updated his social media with a little more context about what’s going on in his personal life.

“I’m sorry to all my friends, supporters and family for not being able to fight in March,” Whittaker wrote on social media. “A lot has happened over the 12 last months and I need to take some time now to be with my family, slow things down and to refocus. Sorry to everyone again but I’ll be back. The best is yet to come.”

Whittaker, 29, snapped a nine-fight win streak with his second-round knockout loss to Israel Adesanya in the UFC 243 main event last October. The Aussie has only competed twice since summer 2017 after battling a number of debilitating injuries.

Cannonier is expected to remain on the card and the promotion is working to find him a suitable replacement. Former welterweight Darren Till, who made a successful middleweight debut at UFC 244, appears to be the leading candidate.