Conor McGregor would never have used a collapsed bowel and internal hernia requiring emergency surgery to keep him out of the UFC octagon.
Now, if it had been a root canal or other issue impairing his ability to speak…
Aussie Robert Whitaker did have to pull out of a title fight for the above emergencies. It is the second time he has been withdrawn from a title fight.
It may be time to pursue another career, but UFC boss Dana White seems willing to give Whitaker time to recover, something that did not sit well with rising star Israel Adesanya, who beat All-time great Anderson Silva at UFC 234 and assumed he was entitled to a title fight.
Adesanya does not approve of the concept of engaging in a bout that would result in an interim belt and would like to see Whitaker stripped of his title belt.
Kelvin Gastelum was the no. 1 contender for Whitaker’s title, and Adesanya does not think he should have to face Gastelum for any other reason than an undisputed title.
“I think that (interim title fight) is more likely but I don’t like the interim thing because they throw that everywhere,” Adesanya told Stuff.co.nz. “I’m like, look, strip Rob of the belt because this is not the first time this has happened. Strip Rob of the belt, me and Kelvin fight for it and Rob’s the number one contender. So he can come see me when he’s ready.”
Adesanya made his remarks seemingly without malice and he makes a valid point about interim belts. The return of Whitaker is anything but a foregone conclusion and inactivity was viewed as a valid reason for taking away one of McGregor’s belts.
The connection between Whitaker’s medical issues and his chosen career in not conclusive. Accountants and schoolteachers can experience collapsed bowels and hernias.
Ultimately, the decision regarding a possible stripping of Whitaker’s middleweight belt will be an economic one, made by Dana White.