Former UFC middleweight champion and the current no. 1 ranked 185lbs fighter Robert Whittaker responds to fan backlash over backing out of his scheduled fight against Marvin Vettori a week ago due to an undisclosed injury. Although Whittaker later took to social media to let fans who that he will be back soon, there was not a single word on what the injury actually was.
The Reaper is one of the most beloved fighters in the UFC. His calm and polite nature outside the Octagon has won the fans over. But the community of fans on the internet is ruthless in their criticism of fighters. Even a respected figure such as Robert Whittaker could not escape it.
He recently appeared on the Australian show Submission Radio, where he spoke about the abuse he took from fans on the internet. Although he seemed to be taking it very lightly, Whittaker did look a tad bit bemused. He said,
“Let me say, the MMA community sometimes can be bloody brutal. They just hammered me! Trust me I was kept up at night tossing and turning (and) knowing I had to make a decision. It was killing me. Honestly, it’s been a rough and stressful period,”
“Like, trying to work out this injury and still prepare for the fight and everything. And then live with the idea that doctors don’t think I’m gonna be ready for this fight. And yeah, it was just stressful and then I was in pain.”
Robert Whittaker went on to add that he ultimately decided to withdraw from the fight because he did not want to take a chance which could have resulted in a loss. Bobby Knuckles also expressed that fans would not have been considerate of his injuries, in that case. Instead, they would have accused him of making excuses.
Robert Whittaker speaks on the injury which forced him out of UFC 275
Robert Whittaker was also asked questions by the hosts regarding his injury. Although the former champ did not want to elaborate on the specifics, he did reveal that the injury was causing him a lot of pain which ultimately resulted in him cancelling the bout. In the interview, the 31-year old said,
“I don’t wanna get into it too much. Because I don’t wanna highlight my injury. But it was something that I took. I had a niggling injury leading into the camp and I didn’t have the fight signed then so I was cool with it healing and everything and then the fight got presented to me and everything just lined up.”
Putting the work in to get back as soon as possible. Will be dancing under then lights soon ????✨️???? pic.twitter.com/PrHlRhG0c4— Robert Whittaker (@robwhittakermma) April 26, 2022
“It was Singapore, it was Vettori, I was excited to just get back in there and get back to work. And I jumped straight back into training I got back in the gym that week and just felt pain. I wasn’t performing the way I wanted to. I wasn’t comfortable with the way I was able to move and everything.”
Thankfully the injury does not seem like something that could require surgery and Robert Whittaker will be back sooner than later. Although he has fought almost all the contenders in the division, fresh match-ups such as the aforementioned Marvin Vettori and Paulo Costa are still available. As he tries to crawl his way back into another title shot, it will be important for Whittaker to notch up a few wins in quick succession.