Robert Whittaker’s fight with Luke Rockhold for UFC 221 felt like the middleweight division was finally going to be set back to normal. First there were two titles, until Georges St-Pierre took the undisputed belt from Michael Bisping and vacated it only a month later. With Bisping retiring, St-Pierre leaving the division and Whittaker promoted to the sole champion, the chaos seemed to be settling. Enter the injury bug. Whittaker was forcibly removed from the fight due to an undisclosed injury and has recently released some statements apologizing to his fans.
“I’m beyond disappointed that I’m unable to defend the title in my home country of Australia. I hope the fans enjoy what should be a great night of fights at UFC 221, and I look forward to a recovery as soon as possible that will have me back in the Octagon to face the winner of the main event.” — Robert Whittaker speaking to ESPN.
— LUSHSUX (@lushsux) January 10, 2018
“I would like to apologize to all my supporters and fans of MMA for not being able to put on the show you deserve. I’ve been ruled medically unable to compete and wont be able to defend [my UFC middleweight title] on home soil [at UFC 221]. This card meant so much to me and I’m devastated for not being able to fight [Luke Rockhold]. All I can do is focus on getting healthy to come back better than ever. All the best to Yoel [Romero] and Luke for their fight and ill be waiting…” — Robert Whittaker via his official Instagram.
You have to feel for Robert Whittaker, who was looking forward to headlining in his home. Classy as always, Robert Whittaker vows to make it up to his fans and also gave respect and well-wishes to Yoel Romero who will step into his place against Luke Rockhold for an interim title now. The UFC has already confirmed that he will fight the winner to once again unify the middleweight belt. Until then, we still have an incredibly awesome fight in Perth.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/13/2018.