Kelvin Gastelum was supposed to headline UFC 234 with a title shot against middleweight champ Robert Whittaker. However, the latter has withdrawn due to an emergency abdominal operation and the title contender thinks the belt is now his to take home.
Gastelum shocked fans after he was seen carrying a belt on his shoulder at UFC 234 while proclaiming that his efforts alone should have earned him the middleweight title. However, Dana White revealed that there’s no reason to freak out as what Conor McGregor did.
Conor McGregor had some thoughts on Kelvin Gastelum carrying around the UFC belt in Melbourne. pic.twitter.com/YRhdUPfLUO
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) February 10, 2019
The fourth-ranked UFC middleweight has no hard feelings on Whittaker for getting pulled out of the title match the day before the main event happens. In fact, he’s wishing the Australian champ fast recovery and offering him a ‘crack at his title.’
“This is my belt,” Gastelum told reporters backstage at UFC 234. “I earned this. I showed up, travelled thousands and thousands of miles from home, made the weight.”
“In my world, the wrestling world, if the guy shows up and makes the weight, for some reason cancels the bout, the guy forfeits the match – I win. I am the champion.”
“They just pretty much told me that Rob was out of the fight. Weigh-ins happened and there needs to be a process for me to even get a fight. There’s no other way that (Donald) ‘Cowboy’ (Cerrone) or something would be able to step up, just because of commission rules and that process and stuff,” Gastelum added.
— Oscar Willis (@oscarswillis) February 10, 2019
Not Going Home Empty-Handed
Continuing, the title contender claimed the title to himself and said there is no way he’s not bringing home an honour for the hard work he has done.
“This was the hardest camp of my life, so for them to rip this opportunity from me, I ain’t going to have it. I’m not going home empty handed.”
“I promised my people I was going to go home with some hardware and here I am. I’m going to go home with the belt. Hopefully, Rob heals up and I’ll give him a crack at the title,” the American fighter stated.
However, this statement is not worthy of the mixed martial arts world’s alarm after the UFC President himself stated that he did not give Gastelum the belt for simply showing up in Melbourne. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto wrote on Twitter:
“Dana White on Kelvin Gastelum wearing the belt around UFC 234: “That was Cejudo’s belt he borrowed. That was cute.”
Dana White on Kelvin Gastelum wearing the belt around UFC 234: "That was Cejudo's belt he borrowed. That was cute."
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) February 10, 2019
Full UFC 234 Results
Israel Adesanya def. Anderson Silva by unanimous decision
Lando Vannata def. Marcos Mariano via first-round submission (armbar)
Ricky Simon def. Rani Yahya via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-25)
Montana De La Rosa def. Nadia Kassem via second-round submission (armbar)
Jimmy Crute def. Sam Alvey via first-round TKO (strikes)
Preliminary Card (ESPN)
Devonte Smith def. Dong Hyun Ma by TKO at 3:53 of round 1: Lightweight
Shane Young def. Austin Arnett by unanimous decision (30-27 x3): Featherweight
Kai Kara-France def. Raulian Paiva by split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29): Flyweight
Kyung Ho Kang def. Teruto Ishihara by technical submission (RNC) at 3:59 of round 1: Bantamweight
Jalin Turner def. Callan Potter by KO at 0:53 of round 1: Lightweight
Jonathan Martinez def. Wuliji Buren by decision (30-27 x2, 29-28): Bantamweight