It looks like Robert Whittaker is okay following his emergency surgery early Sunday morning in Melbourne, hours before a UFC 234 middleweight title defense against Kelvin Gastelum. Not long after the card was over, his team issued a statement on his behalf. In it, they explain his injuries and say that it could have been potentially fatal for him to fight.
Today, Whittaker has released his own statement from his hospital bed. It’s largely the same information, but Whittaker still has a sense of humor about it.
“Hey guys ! Still kicking. I’m sorry to all my friends, fans and family for not being able to get in there Sunday. Apparently if you get emergency surgeries you can’t be cleared to fight. Thanks for the overwhelming support from all my fans I am so blessed to know you guys have my back. A big thanks to my team mates @fabricioitte @alexprates07 @standstrongboxingcoachjustin @justinlang_ep @titusday77 and all the others from behind the scenes you guys were there from start to finish worrying and prioritizing my health above all. Lastly to @danawhite and @ufc for the immediate help and support throughout the process of testing and the emergency surgeries. I am blessed I found out when I did and avoided life long consequences. I’ll be back better than ever.”
In the video itself, he states that he suffered a collapsed bowel and an internal hernia. He says that he was fighting the doctors the whole way up until they told him that he required the surgery or he could lose a part of his bowel, or even worse, it could potentially be fatal.
Initially, UFC president Dana White said that recovery time could be as low as four weeks for this sort of injury. But it’s been stated that it could be a lot longer than that as well, and no one is really sure. It’s unclear if Whittaker will still defend against Gastelum next, or Israel Adesanya, or someone else.