Breaking: Robert Whittaker Out Of UFC 234 Main Event

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Just hours before tonight’s (Sat., February 9, 2019) UFC 234 from Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia, the event has lost its headliner. UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker is out of his first official title defense due to injury.

ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reported that Whittaker began experiencing pain in his abdomen last night. He was found to have suffered a hernia. He’ll be unable to compete in tonight’s scheduled main event against Kelvin Gastelum:

Ariel Helwani had some more details about Whittaker’s ailment. The champion is now in surgery:

Gastelum’s manager Ali Abdelaziz told him the UFC would ‘tale care of’ the fighter:

It’s a crushing blow for Australian fan favorite Whittaker. He was set to fight in his first official title defense in Australia last year but was forced out due to injury there as well. Two failed title defenses on his home soil in two years is a tough one for every fighter.

Whittaker is no doubt a tough, resilient champion. But this will do little to disprove the theory that his pair of five-round wars with Yoel Romero have left him beginning to show cracks. He has experienced a never-ending streak of injuries the past two years.

Anderson Silva vs. Israel Adesanya will presumably move into the main event.

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