The reigning middleweight champion Robert Whittaker was expected to defend his belt against Luke Rockhold at UFC 221 in Perth on Sunday February 11. Mid January it was announced that the champion was forced to withdraw from the contest due to injury, and was replaced by Yoel Romero.
Post UFC 220 event at TD Garden in Boston this past weekend, Dana White spoke to Aaron Bronsteter of TSN. When asked about the time table of Whittaker’s return, and what his actual injury was, UFC head said that the 185-pound title holder apparently is in serious condition.
“He had staph infection in his stomach and from what I understand it wasn’t treated properly and started to eat away at parts of his organs,” said White. “He’s in serious condition, so it’s going to be a minute before he’s back, I think.
“Hopefully it turns around quick. But that stuff is life threatening if not treated the right way.”
On Sunday Robert Whittaker posted a new photo on his Instagram. “Sick as a dog, but at least my nutrition is on point @musclemealsdirect Thanks for all the well wishes guys #ontheroadtorecovery, he wrote in the caption.”
Held at Perth Arena UFC 221 is the first Pay-Per-View event produced in Western Australia. The co-main event features a heavyweight battle between Mark Hunt and Curtis Blaydes. The full fight card can be found below.
UFC 221 fight card
Middleweight Yoel Romero vs. Luke Rockhold
Heavyweight Mark Hunt vs. Curtis Blaydes
Heavyweight Tai Tuivasa vs. Cyril Asker
Welterweight Jake Matthews vs. Li Jingliang
Light Heavyweight Tyson Pedro vs. Saparbek Safarov
Lightweight Damien Brown vs. Dong Hyun Kim
Middleweight Rob Wilkinson vs. Israel Adesanya
Lightweight Alexander Volkanovski vs. Jeremy Kennedy
Flyweight Jussier Formiga vs. Ben Nguyen
Lightweight Ross Pearson vs. Mizuto Hirota
Bantamweight Teruto Ishihara vs. Jose Alberto Quinonez
Welterweight Luke Jumeau vs. Daichi Abe