Last night’s (Sat., February 9, 2019) UFC 234 was a handed devastating last-minute change when middleweight champion Robert Whittaker had emergency hernia surgery.
Israel Adesanya and Anderson Silva filled in admirably for the New Zealander, but the sting was tangible. It was the second straight February where Whittaker had been forced out of a title defense in Australia because of injury. Many of the fans in Melbourne made UFC 234 a sellout due to Whittaker’s popularity.
Dana White put Whittaker’s recovery at four to six weeks. An update came that Whittaker’s surgeries had been complicated and he had no realistic timetable. He’s currently recovering in a Melbourne hospital. Whittaker took the first chance he could to apologize to his fans. “The Reaper” issued a statement from his hospital bed via Instagram:
“Hey guys ! Still kicking. I’m sorry to all my friends, fans and family for not being able to get in there Sunday. Apparently if you get emergency surgeries you can’t be cleared to fight. 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 team mates @fabricioitte @alexprates07 @standstrongboxingcoachjustin @justinlang_ep @titusday77 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 @danawhite and @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.”