UFC Champ Robert Whittaker Released from Hospital, Targets Summer Return to UFC
UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker has been released from the hospital after undergoing emergency surgery this past weekend after he was knocked out of his title fight against Kelvin Gastelum.
Just hours before Whittaker was expected to fight at UFC 234 in Australia, he started suffering from a considerable amount of pain, which forced him to go to the hospital for treatment.
There it was revealed that the defending 185-pound king was sufferent from a collapsed bowel and an internal hernia that required immediate surgery.
Now according to Whittaker’s manager, he’s been released from the hospital with strict instructions to take it easy with physical activity limited to just walking for the next four to six weeks. Assuming his recovery goes well, Whittaker could potentially begin light training after that time.
Considering the necessary recovery period, Whittaker’s manager says that he hopes the former ‘Ultimate Fighter’ winner will be able to return sometime this summer, although he would like to come back closer to June rather than wait until August.
“I’d say he’ll be able to fight next sometime between June and August depending on recovery,” Titus Day told ESPN. “Hopefully closer to June.”
Whittaker last fought in June 2018 when he earned a second victory against Yoel Romero in a hard fought battle at UFC 225 in Chicago.
Based on the timeline for his return to action, Whittaker will likely be out at least a year since that last title defense before he’s able to step back into the Octagon.
If Whittaker is able to return during the early part of the summer, it’s likely the UFC would attempt to rebook his previously scheduled fight against Kelvin Gastelum.
Then again, middleweight contender Israel Adesanya has suggested that the UFC strip Whittaker of his title while he’s out and put together a fight between him and Gastelum to crown a new champion.
UFC has made no decisions yet regarding the middleweight title and there’s no exact timeline when Whittaker could return.