UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker has been forced to withdraw from his upcoming title fight against Luke Rockhold at UFC 221. First reported by ESPN, Whittaker suffered an undisclosed injury and was ruled medically unable to compete by physicians.
I would like to apologize to all my supporters and fans of MMA for not being able to put on the show you deserve. I’ve been ruled medically unable to compete and wont be able to defend on home soil. This card meant so much to me and I’m devastated for not being able to fight. All I can do is focus on getting healthy to come back better than ever. All the best to Yoel and Luke for their fight and ill be waiting…
“I’m beyond disappointed that I’m unable to defend the title in my home country of Australia,” Whittaker said in a statement. “I hope the fans enjoy what should be a great night of fights at UFC 221, and I look forward to a recovery as soon as possible that will have me back in the Octagon to face the winner of the main event.”
This was scheduled to be Whittaker’s first title defence in his home country of Australia since winning the interim title at UFC 213 when he defeated Yoel Romero by unanimous decision. Whittaker was eventually promoted to undisputed champion after Georges St-Pierre vacated the title.
Yoel Romero will step to replace Robert Whittaker and will face Luke Rockhold for the UFC Interim Middleweight title. According to ESPN, Whittaker will face the winner in a unification bout.