UFC middleweight Kelvin Gastelum is now off of next weekend’s UFC 273 card due to injury.
Gastelum was initially scheduled to meet surging Frenchman Nassourdine Imavov on the main card of the April 9 pay-per-view. The #11-ranked 185lber, however, was forced to pull out after facing visa issues. He was then booked to face Dricus Du Plessis. Now, Gastelum has withdrawn from the event altogether and has provided the following statement after the news became public. (h/t MMA Fighting)
“I wish it was an April Fool’s joke,” said Gastelum, whose withdrawal was announced by the UFC on Friday, April 1. “I wish this didn’t happen, but it did, and unfortunately, I have to withdraw from the fight.
“I was advised not to disclose the injury, but just know, I am compromised, and I can’t and won’t be heading into the fight compromised the way that I am.
“You were our last hope to stay on the card, and I was so thankful that you accepted the fight,” Gastelum said while addressing Du Plessis. “But I’m sorry.”
Gastelum would then close with a message of optimism for the future.
“It’s going to be worth the ride, guys,” he said. “It’s going to be one hell of a book once it’s all done and finished. I’m not done – far from over it. … I truly believe that we can get the job done. If I didn’t, believe it in my heart, then I wouldn’t say it.”
You can catch the video of Gastelum’s full statement below.
Since falling short of interim gold in a FOTY-worthy clash with Israel Adesanya in 2019, Gastelum, winner of The Ultimate Fighter 17, has gone 1-4. A sole victory over Ian Heinisch in that period came in amongst defeats to Darren Till, Jack Hermansson, Robert Whittaker, and Jared Cannonier.
The full, updated UFC 273 card is currently as follows:
Gilbert Burns vs. Khamzat Chimaev (middleweight)
Mackenzie Dern vs. Tecia Torres (women’s strawweight)
Ilir Latifi vs. Aleksei Oleinik (heavyweight)
Aspen Ladd vs. Raquel Pennington (women’s bantamweight)
Ian Garry vs. Darrion Weeks (welterweight)
Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Marcin Tybura (heavyweight)
Mickey Gall vs. Mike Malott (welterweight)
Anthony Hernandez vs. Josh Fremd (middleweight)
Julio Arce vs. Daniel Santos (bantamweight)
Vinc Pichel vs. Mark O.Madsen (lightweight)
Piera Rodriguez vs. Kay Hansen (women’s strawweight)