UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker made it through the UFC 234 weigh-ins without a hitch, but during the night ahead of his headlining showdown with Kelvin Gastelum, he was struck with abdominal pains that were eventually indicative of a medical emergency.
Instead of walking to the Octagon at UFC 234, he was wheeled to an operating room to have surgery at a local hospital in Melbourne, Australia.
Whittaker was diagnosed with an internal hernia and a twisted and collapsed bowel. He underwent dual surgeries the day of the event. Doctors noted that had he moved forward with the fight without his condition being detected, it could have proven fatal.
As it was, Whittaker's condition was detected and he was urged to go immediately in for surgery.
Following his surgeries and a little bit of recovery, Whittaker issued the following written statement alongside an Instagram video from his hospital bed updating everyone on his condition.
"Hey guys! Still kicking. I'm sorry to all my friends, fans and family for not being able to get in there Sunday (Saturday in North America). Apparently if you get emergency surgeries you can't be cleared to fight," Whittaker joked. "Thanks for the overwhelming support from all my fans I am so blessed to know you guys have my back. A big thanks to my teammates and all the others from behind the scenes you guys were there from start to finish worrying and prioritizing my health above all.
"Lastly to Dana White and the UFC for the immediate help and support throughout the process of testing and the emergency surgeries. I am blessed I found out when I did and avoided life long consequences. I'll be back better than ever."