Why Was Robert Whittaker Pulled Out of the first fight against Kelvin Gastelum?

Published 04/14/2021, 1:27 PM EDT
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – JUNE 09: Robert Whittaker of New Zealand reacts after finishing five rounds against Yoel Romero of Cuba in their middleweight fight during the UFC 225 event at the United Center on June 9, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


Robert Whittaker is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. His presence inside the octagon is no less than a visual treat for MMA fans worldwide. As of 2021, the New Zealand-born Australian has been ranked at #1 in the UFC middleweight rankings.

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 09: Robert Whittaker of Australia weighs in during the UFC 234 weigh-in at Rod Laver Arena on February 09, 2019 in the Melbourne Australia. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The terrific fighter has been professionally fighting since 2009 and is also a former UFC Middleweight Champion. ‘The Reaper’ is already a big name in the game and is all set to create history in his division.

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Besides his performances, the 30-year-old is also known for his injuries. In 2018 news outlets reported that Whittaker was pulled out of UFC 234.

Robert Whittaker and UFC 234

In the year 2019 at UFC 234, Whittaker was all set to go against Kelvin Gastelum as his next middleweight title defense. However, to everybody’s surprise, the fighter pulled out of the fight just a few hours before the actual bout. The reason for this sudden decision was a dual surgery that the fighter had to undergo.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JULY 24: Robert Whittaker of New Zealand poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 24, 2020 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The fighter had an abdominal hernia of the intestine and a twisted and collapsed bowel due to which this emergency decision was taken. His opponent, Kelvin Gastelum, said, “With much sorrow I write that my fight for the middleweight title is off. I’m sorry to everyone that was expecting this great fight, Family, friends and followers from around the world”

Whittaker’s take on the incident

The Australian has certainly been subject to a lot of injuries in the past. The way he has taken everything positively is really inspiring. In one of his interviews, the fighter said, “I haven’t even started the rehab process yet.

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“Just more letting it heal first before I can implement that. They put a plate and some screws in (on the right hand). Realistically I’m looking at February next year.”

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JULY 26: Robert Whittaker of New Zealand celebrates after his victory over Darren Till of England in their middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 26, 2020 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

“I’m not worried that it’ll have any effect on my performance,” he said. “I haven’t even reached the peak of my potential. This hard fight is going to mold me and shape me as to how I approach fights from here on. I think everyone has to have their mettle tested in a tough fight. That was one of them for me.”

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‘The Reaper’ is one of the greatest champions the UFC has ever seen. With his willpower and never-give-up attitude, he is on his way to becoming a legend of the game. Whittaker is now all set to face Gastelum on 17 April 2021 at UFC on ESPN 22.

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Abhilasha Singh

83 articles

Abhilasha Singh is a UFC author at EssentiallySports. Having completed her post-graduation from The University of Texas in Austin, she combines her keen eye for details and her love for the sport to give readers pristine content on everything UFC. Abhilasha is a hardcore fan of Amanda Nunes, Georges St Pierre, and Stipe Miocic, but Conor McGregor is the one who tops her list.

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