Robert Whittaker put on a dominant performance over Kelvin Gastelum on April 17 and did so while fighting with an injury.
Whittaker was supposed to face Paulo Costa on the card but the Brazilian was forced out of the bout and Gastelum stepped up on short notice. However, when Whittaker arrived in Las Vegas and began training he tore ligaments in his hand. Even though he had torn ligaments in his hand, he still earned a dominant decision over Gastelum.
“I tore the ligaments in my hand that week, as well,” Whittaker said to Submission Radio. “Before the fight, it’s all on record, the UFC knows that as well. I need to go home and do rehab on that. Let me tell yeah, fighting isn’t the best way to rehab a hand.”
After learning of the injury, Whittaker says he told the UFC and they got him all the treatment he needed during fight week. Although fighting with torn ligaments in a hand is not ideal for a fight, Whittaker says he never thought of pulling out of the scrap.
“Yeah, I don’t know. When I first did it, there were all the initial concerns and everything about going into a fight with one hand,” Whittaker said. “I’ve fought too many times with one hand and I know how hard it is. It is a nightmare. Honestly, the UFC was great in getting me to see doctors that I needed to see and manage it the way I did. Honestly, once the adrenalin kicked in, it didn’t hold me back too much. Plus, I was there. I was there, I wanted to fight. And yeah, this is what I do, this how I provide, I had the made the trip.”
Robert Whittaker is in isolation in Australia for two weeks after his fight. Once he is allowed to leave, he says he will go get his hand checked and see what other injuries he may have. The plan for “The Reaper” is to return later this year and face the winner of Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori 2 for the belt.
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