UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker was discharged Tuesday from the Melbourne hospital where he had emergency hernia surgery, according to ESPN.
Whittaker underwent surgery in his native country hours before he was scheduled to fight Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of UFC 234 on Saturday night.
Whittaker ruled out for a few months
Titus Day, Whittaker’s manager, told ESPN that Whittaker is still in a lot of pain. He is not allowed to fly home to Sydney yet due to doctors’ orders.
Day said the doctors told Whittaker, 28, he won’t be able to do more than walk for the next four to six weeks and if all goes well, then he can start light training.
“I’d say he’ll be able to fight next sometime between June and August depending on recovery,” Day said. “Hopefully closer to June.”
The surgery was for both an intestinal hernia and a “twisted and collapsed bowel,” per Whittaker’s team release Saturday. While Whittaker wanted to fight, the team said a hit to his stomach could have been fatal. Making weight was not the cause of the issue, per his team.
UFC yet to determine plan
Whittaker is on a nine-fight win streak, but has not officially defended his middleweight belt more than a year into holding it. Gastelum declared himself the “true” middleweight champion for showing up and making weight after Whittaker was forced to drop out.
According to the ESPN report, the UFC hasn’t discussed with Whittaker or his team what they intend to do with the middleweight.
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