Dana White Blasts Gastelum: It’s ‘Cute’ He Thinks He’s Champ

MMA Journalist

The UFC’s President has been a busy man during the week of last night’s UFC 234 from Melbourne, Australia. The topics of Conor McGregor and Anderson Silva’s next fights seem to be looming for the company’s public face. But there was one thing at UFC 234 that did not impress him, so it’s time Dana White blasts Kelvin Gastelum for pretending he is UFC champion.

TUF 17 winner Gastelum was set to battle middleweight champion Robert Whittaker for the belt in the UFC 234 main event. “The Reaper” was beset with scary abdominal issues the night before the fight, however. He was forced to pull out of the bout and go into two kinds of emergency surgery as a result.

Gastelum was classy in his initial reaction to the last-minute news. But he soon changed his tune after arriving at UFC 234. He claimed he was champion as he flaunted a belt while talking to media:

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“I earned this, you know what I mean? I mean, I showed up, traveled thousands and thousands of miles from home, made the weight. You know, in my world, guy shows up, makes the weight, for some reason doesn’t wanna, you know, cancels the bout. The guy forfeits the match. I win. I’m the champion, 

“I’m the champ, for sure. I’m not going home empty-handed. I made a promise to my people that I was gonna come home with some hardware. And here I am, I’m gonna go home with the belt.”

White’s Reaction

Unfortunately for him, that’s not how things work at the highest levels of the UFC, however. Many, including Conor McGregor, blasted Gastelum’s act. White also spoke up about Gastelum’s claim at the post-fight press conference following UFC 234, calling the move ‘cute.’ He revealed Gastelum had ‘borrowed’ flyweight champion Henry Cejudo‘s title belt:

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“I saw, that was cute. He borrowed Henry Cejudo’s belt,” White said as he confirmed Gastelum was still the next contender to face Whittaker.

As to when will the champ will return, he apparently has about four to six weeks of recovery time before he can resume training. There’s already been talk of an interim title, however, so he’ll have to get recovering. He said he doesn’t want to strip Whittaker of the title, but the show must go on:

“He’s going to be better in four to six weeks. When we have a guy who blows an ACL or takes some time off, we look at how long those guys are going to be out for and make a decision.”

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“Time is not your friend in this business. Rob’s looking like four to six weeks, so we’ll go from there. It’s never fun to strip someone of the title, they worked hard to get there, so it’s never fun.”

The timeline may seem a bit optimistic considering Whittaker has dealt with a myriad of significant injuries during his time as champion. If he’s unable to return,