Robert Whittaker out of UFC 234 title fight with hernia

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MELBOURNE, Australia - An abdominal hernia has forced UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker out of his highly anticipated title defense against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 234, just hours before doors were scheduled to open at Rod Laver Arena. Lando Vannata and Marcos Mariano's lightweight matchup will also be elevated to co-main status.

Per Okamoto, the hernia was not related to Whittaker's weight cut.

For all the good luck that the UFC had in keeping fights scheduled through January, February is not starting off the same way.

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ESPN's Ariel Helwani does not paint a pretty picture of what occurred that night, with Whittaker now in surgery.

Adesanya, a New Zealander who UFC called its breakout star of 2018 in its release, made his UFC debut only a year ago in the preliminary card of UFC 221, the same event that Whittaker had to pull out of.

UFC president Dana White confirmed today in a press conference in Melbourne that the stipulations are the same for Kiwi fighter Israel Adesanya, that he will have a shot at the title if he beats Anderson Silva on Sunday.

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It's the second Australian headliner that Whittaker has been forced to pull out of.

Due to change in the main event, customers may request a full refund of their purchased tickets at the point of sale.

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