Robert Whittaker has been released from the hospital three days after he underwent emergency surgery due to an abdominal hernia and his manager has revealed the projected timetable for his return.
Fans were disappointed when the middleweight champ pulled out of his title defence fight against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 234. Now that he’s out of the hospital, a lot are waiting for the schedule of Whittaker’s next fight, or whether his challenger is getting another shot.
Whittaker’s home crowd was all set to cheer in harmony as tickets for the event at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne were sold out just minutes after they were announced available. The middleweight champ wanted to fight so bad that he even tried to put the surgery on hold.
“He had abdominal pain and was finally taken to the hospital by the UFC at 1 am and was trying everything to remain in the fight, refusing any treatment that would force him out of the fight,” Whittaker’s jiu-jitsu coach Alex Prates said via MMAFighting.
UFC President Dana White himself testified at how crucial Whittaker’s condition was. Fortunately, the operation was successful and the middleweight titlist was released from the hospital after three days.
“He’s in the recovery room. I was with his wife and family. This is one of those freak accidents where the doctor said literally they’ve never seen this type of injury in a young person,” White said during the post-fight press conference.
“This usually happens to old people. His bowel and intestines poked through the hole. It didn’t happen yesterday after the weigh-ins.”
“They think he’s had this problem and it’s been going in and out. It’s one of those situations had it popped out during the fight it could have been fatal for him,” the UFC boss stated.
Able To Fight
According to his manager Titus Day, the Australian champ’s doctor has not yet allowed him to fly home to Sydney until Monday. The manager also revealed that Whittaker will not be able to do anything more than walk for the next four to six weeks as per the doctors’ advice.
After this period, the 28-year-old can take on light training, assuming his recovery turns out well. In terms of his fighting comeback, Day says he will apparently be available on the last month of the second quarter towards the third.
“I’d say he’ll be able to fight next sometime between June and August depending on recovery. Hopefully closer to June,” Day stated.
Perfectly enough, this timetable would match Gastelum’s hope to rebook his title shot for the summer. If the fight happens then, it would likely be for either UFC 238 in Chicago, Illinois on June 8 or UFC 239 in July.
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Hey guys ! Still kicking. I'm sorry to all my friends, fans and family for not being able to get in there Sunday. Apparently if you get emergency surgeries you can't be cleared to fight. Thanks for the overwhelming support from all my fans I am so blessed to know you guys have my back. A big thanks to my team mates @fabricioitte @alexprates07 @standstrongboxingcoachjustin @justinlang_ep @titusday77 and all the others from behind the scenes you guys were there from start to finish worrying and prioritizing my health above all. Lastly to @danawhite and @ufc for the immediate help and support throughout the process of testing and the emergency surgeries. I am blessed I found out when I did and avoided life long consequences. I'll be back better than ever.
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/Robert Whittaker