Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Robert Whittaker pulls out of UFC 221; Yoel Romero replaces him

Robert Whittaker pulls out of UFC 221; Yoel Romero replaces him

It's unclear what injury Whittaker is now dealing with, though he did suffer a knee ailment last summer in a fight for the interim title with Romero at UFC 213.

It's a major blow to the UFC's 221 pay-per-view event, which is scheduled to take place in Perth, Australia.

The 27-year-old Whittaker, the first Australian-born champion in UFC history, tried to remain on the card but doctors found him medically unable to fight.

It wasn't meant to be as ESPN brought word of an injury to Whittaker, which has forced him off the card.

The news was first reported by ESPN's Brett Okamoto and later confirmed by the UFC early Saturday morning. With Whittaker out, the UFC has made a decision to move forward with an interim title fight with former champion Luke Rockhold facing Yoel Romero in the new main event from Perth, Australia on February 10. Whittaker headlining an event in his home country of Australia had all the hype in the world. The new main event at UFC 221 will still have championship gold resting in the balance as Rockhold vs. Romero will fight for an interim strap with the victor facing Whittaker in a unification bout later in 2018.

"I would like to apologize to all my supporters and fans of MMA for not being able to put on the show you deserve". All I can do is focus on getting healthy to come back better than ever.

He defeated former two-division WSOF champion David Branch, the man Romero was originally scheduled to face at UFC on FOX 28 on February 24. He defeated David Branch (21-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC) back in September, and has been calling for another shot at the title since being knocked out by Michael Bisping in 2016. In a very active division, Rockhold and Romero have never faced each other. I wish Yoel and Lucas [Rockhold] the best.

Like this: