Top 185-pound competitor Kelvin Gastelum saw the biggest fight of his career fall apart earlier today when Robert Whittaker was forced out of their main event at tonight’s (Sat., February 9, 2019) from Melbourne.
‘The Reaper’ was forced into emergency surgery for a hernia. It was a serious injury with which Whittaker obviously could not appear in his first official title defense. It was a crushing blow that saw Whittaker’s second title fight from Australia in as many years called to injury.
After the news broke, Gastelum was all class in his response online. He spoke of a direction and meaning from a higher power and wished Whittaker a speedy recovery. However, after some reflection, it seems Gastelum is taking the opposite path. He appeared at UFC 234 holding a UFC title belt and spoke to the media. There, he declared himself the new UFC middleweight champion (via MMA Fighting):
“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.”
No More Interim “Crap”
Gastelum said he earned the title. He didn’t want any talk of an interim title because Whittaker pulled out. He was supposedly now the champ in his opinion, and he wanted to bring legitimacy to the division:
“All this interim stuff, interim crap, champions pulling out, the guy hasn’t fought in over a year. Champions pulling out. I want to bring legitimacy to the