UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker (19-4) was originally scheduled to defend his title at the UFC 221 show next month in his native Australia, but Whittaker was forced to withdraw from the event after what UFC described as medical issues.
On Saturday night, UFC president Dana White shed some light on Whittaker’s condition, saying that the fighter was dealing with a staph infection in his stomach that had gone mistreated.
“He had staph infection in his stomach. And from what I understand, it wasn’t treated properly and started to eat away parts of his organs. 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.”
White was not able to make a clear indication on when Whittaker may be able to return to the Octagon.
Whittaker, who won the interim UFC middleweight championship last summer, became the undisputed champion last month after Georges St-Pierre vacated his belt due to his own medical issues. This continues a bad run for UFC middleweights in recent weeks, as contender Uriah Hall said he had suffered a “slight heart attack” a few days ago.
Whittaker has not vacated his belt, but UFC is going forward with holding another interim middleweight title fight, this time between Yoel Romero and Luke Rockhold.