It’s a listless start for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) as its first event of the year just lost its original main event. Kelvin Gastelum was originally set to face Nassourdine Imavov at UFC Vegas 67, which takes place this weekend (Sat., Jan. 14, 2023) inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, but a “mouth injury” forced Gastelum to withdraw just as fight week was set to kickoff.
In a recent social media post, Gastelum literally opened his mouth to show off a missing incisor and smashed-in front tooth. Then, a follow-up video showed an oral surgeon, “sewing my teeth back on.”
But, Conor McGregor noticed something even more gross than that. In the first photo, Gastelum had strange red spots on his face, which “The Notorious” believes are the telltale signs of a staph infection.
“Absolute scruff this thing is,” McGregor wrote in an Instagram story. “That’s full on staph infection all over his f—ing face. A full f—ing hole omg and it’s his second time to attempt to enter competition like this.
“WTF! Clean your mats,” McGregor concluded. “Wash yourself. F—ing go to the doctor! Scruff.”
McGregor is referring to Gastelum’s appearance during UFC 234 in 2019, when he was supposed to fight Robert Whittaker for UFC’s Middleweight title. Unfortunately for Gastelum, Whittaker was forced to withdraw due to illness. Gastelum was then removed from the card, but showed up with a UFC belt on his shoulder ... and some pretty obvious staph on his face and neck.
Why is that worm holding the 185lb belt? There are worms crawling on his skin! It was absolutely ludicrous to even consider allowing him to compete. Let alone now walk around the arena shaking our fans hands.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) February 10, 2019
Someone sort this, this instant. And sterilize that belt.
“Why is that worm holding the 185lb belt?” McGregor wrote at the time. “There are worms crawling on his skin! It was absolutely ludicrous to even consider allowing him to compete. Let alone now walk around the arena shaking our fans hands. Someone sort this, this instant. And sterilize that belt. Immediately.”
Staphylococcus aureus is a common problem in martial arts and Brazilian jiu-jitsu and is spread around gyms due to unsanitary conditions and unsanitary training partners. It’s also potentially deadly: staph sometimes develops into necrotizing fasciitis (also known as flesh-eating bacteria), and over the years we’ve seen some real horror-show photos of golfball sized holes in fighters’ bodies resulting from infections.
Most recently, Dustin Poirier was in the hospital for more than one week fighting a bad staph infection that started in his foot and was steadily climbing its way up his leg, despite all the antibiotics being thrown at it. Staph can also turn deadly if it gets into the bloodstream, and it was looking really touch-and-go with “The Diamond” for a minute there.