Kelvin Gastelum: I'm UFC Middleweight Champion After Robert Whittaker Withdrawal

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorFebruary 10, 2019

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 09:  Kelvin Gastelum weighs in during the UFC 234 weigh-in at Rod Laver Arena on February 09, 2019 in the Melbourne Australia. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker was forced to pull out of his UFC 234 title bout with Kelvin Gastelum on Saturday after suffering a hernia in his abdomen, per Brett Okamoto of ESPN.

Whittaker did not lose his belt for pulling out of the fight. However, Gastelum believes he should be the middleweight title holder, per MMA Fighting, and even held up a title belt at a press conference:

Whittaker was forced to pull out of another title fight early last year against Luke Rockhold for an undisclosed injury. He has not made a title defense as of yet. One was supposed to occur against Yoel Romero, but the latter fighter did not make weight.

Right now, however, the most important thing is Whittaker's health. UFC President Dana White told reporter Megan Olivi on the UFC 234 preliminary card broadcast (h/t Alexander K. Lee of MMA Fighting) that the hernia "could have been fatal" if it "popped out during the fight." He also noted that Whittaker was "in the recovery room."   

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