10 Feb - 
Whittaker’s team says fighting at UFC 234 could have been fatal

Robert Whittaker’s management team released a statement Saturday night on the UFC middleweight champion’s withdrawal from UFC 234.

It could have been fatal for Robert Whittaker to fight at UFC 234 on Saturday.

Whittaker’s management team 6 Degrees Management released a statement on social media Saturday night after the UFC middleweight champion’s withdrawal from UFC 234 earlier that day. According to it, Whittaker could have died if he had chosen to fight on Saturday and took a strike to the stomach.

“Rob is just out of duel [sic] surgery for a twisted and collapsed bowel in addition to an internal hernia of the intestine and will be recovering in hospital for several days,” the statement read. ... “Rob is devastated that today’s fight will not go ahead. Up until 5 minutes before going into surgery Rob was insisting he would fight, but advice was that a blow to his stomach could be fatal.”

Whittaker was scheduled to defend his 185-pound title for the first time against Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of UFC 234, which takes place Saturday night at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia. This was the second time in a year that “The Reaper” has had to pull out of a home-country bout; he fell out of a title defense against Luke Rockhold last February due to an injury.

According to the UFC 234 broadcast, Whittaker’s surgery has ended as of 7 p.m. ET. His recovery time is four to eight weeks before he can return to full training.

As of now, the next moves of both Whittaker and Gastelum are unclear.

With the cancellation, Israel Adesanya vs. Anderson Silva was bumped up to the pay-per-view main event.