UFC 234 was supposed to to feature Robert Whittaker making his first defense of the UFC middleweight championship against Kelvin Gastelum in the main event. However, a hernia forced Whittaker into surgery and out of the main event, much to the chagrin of MMA fans around the world. Although Dana White has been critical of fighters in the past for either pulling out of or not accepting fights while citing health reasons, especially when the fight was planned for the main event or title fight, this time White came to the defense of a fighter who some have criticized for pulling out of a fight on the day of an event centered around him:
“Listen, the guy got hurt,” White said at the UFC 234 post-fight press conference. He’s a human being. His colon and his intestine popped through his stomach. I think we can give him a pass on not showing up to work, and I’m glad that it happened, because they think it’s been there for a while, and they think it’s been bothering him for a while, and he didn’t realize what it was.”
Dana White could not let the defense of his champion go without throwing in a little sneak diss in there of unnamed fighters who drew White’s ire in the past:
“This is something legit. This is something real. This isn’t some bullshit like some other guys recently who have turned down fights,” White continued. “This is as legit and as real as you can get. And his family was fighting with him because he didn’t want to go to the hospital till 5 o’clock this morning. He was actually gonna fight…push through it and fight, and thank God he didn’t.
“There’s guys out there you can ridicule; Rob Whittaker isn’t one of them.”
What are your thoughts on Dana White’s defense of Robert Whittaker from criticisms?