An abdominal condition that requires ’emergency surgery’ led to Robert Whittaker’s withdrawal from his main event match against title challenger Kelvin Gastelum. The fourth-ranked middleweight now claims championship after showing up at UFC 234.
After learning about the middleweight titlist’s last-minute pullout from the fight, Gastelum posted a humble acceptance of the unwanted phenomena. However, the American fighter says the title is now his for the effort he carried out to get to the day of the match.
A day before UFC 234 happened at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia, Gastelum took to Twitter his feedback at the scratched out title shot. Though disappointed, the 27-year-old says better deals are coming his way.
“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,” Gastelum wrote.
“God has a reason for doing things and I firmly believe his plans are much bigger and better than I can even imagine. I’m so torn about this situation. A lifetime of pursuit to be able to reach this level and I hope none of these efforts will go in vain.”
“I wish @robwhittakermma a speedy recovery champ! Get well soon!”
Despite this humble statement, the fourth-ranked middleweight says his ‘lifetime pursuit’ of such shot at the UFC gold should earn him the belt. He is even offering Whittaker a ‘crack at his title.’
— Oscar Willis (@oscarswillis) February 10, 2019
“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 continued.
“This was the hardest camp of my life, so for them to rip this opportunity from me, I ain’t going to have it,” Gastelum said. “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.
Apparently, it was Henry Cejudo’s flyweight belt Gastelum wore on his shoulder and UFC President Dana White thinks its 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
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/Kelvin Gastelum and Twitter/Oscar Willis