Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker was expected to return to the cage against Jared Cannonier at UFC 248 last month, but ended up withdrawing from the card.
It wasn’t immediately clear why Whittaker withdrew from this matchup, but when Dana White seemed to get emotional discussing the former UFC middleweight champ’s situation, the rumors started to fly. One website even reported that Whittaker had taken a step back to donate bone marrow to one of his children.
Not so, says Whittaker.
“I have no idea where that [rumor] came from,” Whittaker told The Daily Telegraph. “During the break, I got off all social media to spend time with family, so it was my old man who actually contacted me, explaining there was this crazy rumor going around, and from there, it just got a life of its own. But my kids were all fine. They are fine. It was me who had the issue.”
As for the issue that kept Whittaker out of the cage? It turns out the former champion just needed to take a step back after a string of injuries and illnesses and a lot of missed time with his wife and kids.
“That second (Yoel) Romero fight, it took heaps out of me,” Whittaker continued. “And not just the fight itself, but the bullshit that surrounded it with my [injured] hand and so on. But you keep going. Even with the illnesses I had too, I was out of the Octagon but working twice as hard because I felt like I’d let a lot of people down. So while I wasn’t fighting, I never rested. You can’t say ‘hey, maybe I’m burnt out’. As soon as one fight is over, you have another title fight on the way.”
Needless to say, it’s good to hear that both Robert Whittaker and his children are healthy.
The former champ has recently been linked to a fight with Darren Till in Dublin this August, but as with all sporting events during the coronavirus pandemic, this one is up in the air.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 4/24/2020.