On the day of UFC 234, the pay per view lost its main event when Robert Whittaker was forced out of the main event against Kelvin Gastelum due to a hernia which forced Whittaker to pull out of a card that was set to feature the Australian. Robert Whittaker has now broken his silence by releasing a video statement to address his fellow Australians, fans, and supporters (Transcription via MMA Fighting):
“Let me say that I’m sorry to all my friends and family and fans that came out to watch me perform,” Whittaker said. “But unfortunately I couldn’t be there. I tried my best to try and swing it. I was fighting the doctors all the way up until they said, ‘You’ve gotta get surgery or you’re gonna lose part of your bowel.’ Or it could be potentially fatal. I had to look at my health first — I’m sorry, guys.”
Although some people were critical of Whittaker not making it to the event, Dana White came to Whittaker’s defense by describing the extent of Whittaker’s injury. Whittaker’s account certainly corroborates that defense. Whittaker insists that if there was any way at all for him to compete at UFC 234, he would have, and he thanks those who are helping him cope with the heartbreak of being unable to do so:
“You guys know what it takes to keep me from the Octagon,” Whittaker said of his fans. “So for you guys to be behind me and supporting me and sending me your love like that, it means a lot to me. It really does. And it makes it easier for me to try even harder next time, to get in there and to put my soul on bare and put on a good show for you guys.”
“I’ll be back better than ever,” Whittaker concluded. “This is one obstacle that I’ve jumped. It’s not gonna keep me down forever. I’m gonna be back — better than ever.”
What are your thoughts on Robert Whittaker’s first statement since pulling out of UFC 234?