Medical emergency knocks Robert Whittaker out of UFC 234 main event

Ken Pishna
MMA Weekly

A medical condition forced middleweight champion Robert Whittaker to withdraw UFC 234 just hours before he was slated to defend his belt against Kelvin Gastelum.

UFC president Dana White revealed the news to ESPN on Saturday after Whittaker pulled out of the fight.

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Evidently, Whittaker began complaining of pain in his abdomen during the middle of the night and was taken to the hospital. He was diagnosed with an abdominal hernia. 

ESPN reporter Brett Okamoto said that White told him the hernia was in no way weight cut related. He later informed Okamoto that Whittaker would be going into surgery Saturday (North American time) to take care of the hernia.

Whittaker last defended his belt in an immediate rematch with Yoel Romero at UFC 225 last summer. He then needed some time off from fighting in order to deal with some health issues, so he and Gastelum served as coaches on the most recent season of The Ultimate Fighter.

This marks the second time that Whittaker has been slated to fight in Australia, but been unable to compete because of complications.

UFC 234 will move forward with Israel Adesanya vs. Anderson Silva taking over the headlining slot. They were initially slated to be the co-main event in Melbourne. The Early Prelim headlining bout pitting Lando Vannata vs. Marcos Mariano has been elevated to the UFC 234 pay-per-view main card. 

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