UFC 234 is hours away from starting and unfortunately, Robert Whittaker will no longer be a part of it. The reigning middleweight champion suffered an abdominal hernia and has been ruled out of his scheduled main event title defense against Kelvin Gastelum.
According to UFC president Dana White, Whittaker started experiencing issues late last night and was brought to the hospital with pain in his abdomen. He was diagnosed with a hernia and will undergo surgery sometime today. (Via Brett Okamoto)
With Whittaker’s removal, Gastelum will also be pulled from the card and the Anderson Silva vs. Israel Adesanya bout will be promoted to the main event. This marks the second time that Whittaker has been pulled from a scheduled main event title defense, in his adopted home country of Australia. With the new main event scheduled, it seems as though the Lando Vannata vs. Marcos Rosa fight will be promoted to the co-main event.
Analysis: Well this is certainly a very unfortunate blow to the UFC 234 card, and you can’t help but feel sorry for the fans in attendance, as well as Whittaker and Gastelum. With this being the second title fight cancelled for Whittaker in Australia, it’s starting to feel like a curse. The Silva/Adesanya fight is certainly interesting but it does not have the same appeal. The loss of the Whittaker/Gastelum fight puts a severe dent in this card. My question going forward will be about how this will affect Gastelum. If Adesanya starches Anderson Silva, the calls for Adesanya/Whittaker will be loud.