Robert Whittaker undergoes 'emergency surgery' after UFC 234 withdrawal
Whittaker (20-4 MMA, 11-2 UFC) came down with a “severe abdominal injury,” according to UFC officials, and was deemed unable to compete in tonight’s title-fight headliner against Kelvin Gastelum (16-3 MMA, 11-2 UFC). The champ was pushed into surgery shortly thereafter.
Gastelum will not compete as a result of Whittaker’s injury, and the original co-headliner between unbeaten Israel Adesanya (15-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) and former UFC champ Anderson Silva (34-8 MMA, 17-4 UFC) has been pushed to the top of the card.
According to a person with knowledge of the situation, who spoke to MMAjunkie on the condition of anonymity, Whittaker began feeling symptoms overnight, hours after successfully making weight for UFC 234. Those symptoms worsened in the following hours until he was taken to a local hospital, where tests revealed the need for surgery.
There is no timeline available for Whittaker’s recovery or when he might be healthy enough to return to the octagon. Whittaker nor any member of his team have yet to make an official comment on the situation.
UFC 234 takes place at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and UFC Fight Pass.