Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 185-pound champion, Robert Whittaker, withdrew from the UFC 248 pay-per-view (PPV) event last March in Las Vegas, where he was scheduled to collide with fellow power-punching middleweight Jared Cannonier.
The 20-5 “Reaper” never fully explained why he was unable to compete and pretty much disappeared from the face of the earth. Shortly thereafter, reports surfaced about Whittaker donating bone marrow to his ailing daughter.
“I have no idea where that came from,” Whittaker told The Daily Telegraph. “During the break, I got off all social media to spend time with family, so it was my old man who actually contacted me, explaining there was this crazy rumor going around, and from there, it just got a life of its own. But my kids were all fine. They are fine. It was me who had the issue.”
Whittaker is no stranger to “bullshit” rumors.
Turns out “The Reaper” was simply burned out and tired of being away from his family. After losing his middleweight strap to Israel Adesanya at UFC 243, the 29 year-old Aussie decided it was time to reevaluate his career and the toll it took on his family.
“That second (Yoel) Romero fight, it took heaps out of me,” Whittaker continued. “And not just the fight itself, but the bullshit that surrounded it with my [injured] hand and so on. But you keep going. Even with the illnesses I had too, I was out of the Octagon but working twice as hard because I felt like I’d let a lot of people down. So while I wasn’t fighting, I never rested. You can’t say ‘hey, maybe I’m burnt out’. As soon as one fight is over, you have another title fight on the way.”
In the days following his absence, the promotion tried to rebook the surging Cannonier against former welterweight title contender Darren Till; however, “Killa Gorilla” tore his pectoral muscle in training and was forced to hit the showers.
Whittaker, meanwhile, recently agreed to return at UFC Dublin in August.