Dana White: Champ Robert Whittaker's injury 'could have been fatal' if he fought at UFC 234

UFC President Dana White has revealed some details about the serious nature of the injury that forced Robert Whittaker to pull out of UFC 234.

Whittaker (20-4 MMA, 11-2 UFC), the UFC middleweight champion, was forced to withdraw from his scheduled title defense against Kelvin Gastelum (16-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) just hours before tonight’s event at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia, was scheduled to begin.

The champion was rushed into “emergency surgery” to repair an abdominal issue after he started experiencing symptoms overnight. He’s out from under the knife now, though, and White said on the UFC 234 preliminary card broadcast on ESPN it could have been much worse.

“This was one of those freak accidents where the doctor said he’d literally never seen this type of injury in a young person – this usually happens to old people,” White said. “… They think he’s had this problem and it’s been going in and out, and it’s one of those situations had it popped out during the fight, it could have been fatal for him. We don’t know exactly what happened with the doctor. Hopefully they popped it back in and sewed it up, and if that’s the case, it’ll be four weeks. But this was a freak, freak injury.”

The future of the middleweight division will be dependent on Whittaker’s health coming out of surgery. Gastelum was classy after losing his opportunity to fight for UFC gold, but there’s no guarantee that he will fight Whittaker next.

White was asked about the possibility of introducing an interim title at 185 pounds while Whittaker recovers, but he said it was too soon to make a decision of that nature.

For complete coverage of UFC 234, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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