Rob Whittaker in hospital after a potentially fatal injury was discovered before his main event at UFC 234.
Rob Whittaker in hospital after a potentially fatal injury was discovered before his main event at UFC 234.Source: Supplied

UFC middleweight champion Rob Whittaker has posted a video from his hospital bed, apologising for having to withdraw from the main event of UFC 234 and thanking everyone for their support.

Whittaker was rushed into hospital late on Saturday night for emergency surgery after being diagnosed with a twisted and collapsed bowel as well as an internal hernia.

UFC president Dana White during Sunday’s event that if Whittaker had fought against Kelvin Gastelum as planned, he could have died.

On Monday, Whittaker released a video on Instagram, explaining what had gone on with his team, his injury and his future plans. Read the full transcript below.

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“I’m sorry for all my friends and family and fans that came out to watch me perform, but unfortunately I couldn’t be there,” he said.

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“I tried my best to try and swing it, I was fighting the doctors the whole way up until they said you have to get surgery or you’re gonna lose part of your bowel, or it could be potentially fatal.”

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The Aussie also apologised to Gastelum for having to go through an entire camp and make the journey to Melbourne but not getting to fight, adding “it is what it is”.

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Whittaker said he will be in hospital for “a little bit longer” but will “be back better than ever.”

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FULL TRANSCRIPT OF ROB WHITTAKER’S INSTAGRAM VIDEO

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Hey everyone, Rob here. Thought I’d give you guys an update on how I’m doing.

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I’m still in the hospital. I had to get emergency surgery on Sunday because I had a collapsed bowel and internal hernia that were causing me all sorts of problems.

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Let me say that I’m sorry for all my friends and family and fans that came out to watch me perform, but unfortunately I couldn’t be there. I tried my best to try and swing it, I was fighting the doctors the whole way up until they said you have to get surgery or you’re gonna lose part of your bowel, or it could be potentially fatal. I had to look at my health first, I’m sorry guys.

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It is what it is, you can’t plan for these things. I’m sorry to (Kelvin) Gastelum, he came out here, prepped, long way, and I couldn’t give him a show. But it is what it is.

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I want to say a special thankyou to my teammates, and my coaching staff, and my management, and my friends and family that helped me during the whole period. Especially my team, they were with me through the rehydration period, even though I couldn’t drink water, I couldn’t eat, and they were still trying to give me positive reinforcements. And then they said, Rob, you have to go to hospital, you’re throwing up all your rehydration.

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They were honestly looking after me and I can’t express how thankful I am to have guys like that around me.

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Thanks to all my fans, you guys know what it takes to keep me from the octagon, so for you guys to be behind me and supporting me and sending me your love like that, it means a lot to me, it really does. And it makes it easier for me to get in there and try harder next time, to get in there, to put my soul on bare and put on a good show for you guys.

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I’d also like to say a big thanks to Dana White and the UFC medical team and the UFC. They did everything in their power to get me the tests that I needed and to make sure that I had everything done, they spared no expense.

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I got the tests done, they found that I needed emergency surgery and I was in straight away. I was under the knife the very same day I got the tests done, so thank you to you guys as well.

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I guess, signing off now, I’m going to be in here for a little bit longer but I’m going to be back better than ever. This is one obstacle that I jumped, it’s not going to keep me down forever, and I’m going to be back better than ever.

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Israel Adesanya won a legion of new fans with his thrilling unanimous decision win over legend Anderson Silva in Melbourne on Sunday — but his status as the true No. 1 contender to Robert Whittaker’s crown has been thrown into question by some pointed criticism from within the UFC fraternity.

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The 29-year-old kickboxing specialist declared himself the No. 1 contender after stealing the show at UFC 234 at Rod Laver Arena — ignoring the chaos caused to the middleweight division by Whittaker’s collapsed bowel and intestinal hernia that required emergency surgery on the morning of the event.

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UFC boss Dana White now finds himself in the impossible position of having promised both Adesanya and American Kelvin Gastelum the next shot at Whittaker’s belt.

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With no clear time frame for Whittaker’s return Adesanya is now facing a potentially extended wait on the sidelines until after an expected Whittaker-Gastelum showdown in 2019 — or the prospect of having to fight again, possibly against No. 3 contender Jacare Souza, without a belt on the line.

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A lot will depend on how long it takes Robert Whittaker to get back to full strength, but as of tonight, sounds like Kelvin Gastelum (@KelvinGastelum) still has his No. 1 spot. pic.twitter.com/Gya0uzsAip

— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) February 10, 2019

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Adesanya finds himself in the difficult position of having cemented himself as a top contender with his dominant win over Silva — while also failing to do enough to make it impossible for White to overlook him when it comes time for him to meet with UFC match makers on Tuesday.

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He also failed to do enough to win over some of his UFC rivals.

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American Chris Weidman led the criticism, suggesting he is not convinced Adesanya is the real thing just yet.

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At 5-0 in the UFC, Adesanya is unbeaten in his 12 months in the promotion, but there remain doubts about his wrestling and ground game.

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Adesanya just a tad bit overrated

— Chris Weidman (@chrisweidman) February 10, 2019

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Main reason this could be true is Adesanya’s matches in the UFC haven’t challenged his (perceived) weaknesses, so they have not helped him mature as a mixed martial artist. Threat of a takedown changes his striking dynamics in important ways. And if he can’t stop a TD then what? https://t.co/pHpc5Wfq8T

— Josh Gross (@yay_yee) February 10, 2019

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If you were one of the many who expected Israel Adesanya to starch Anderson Silva, curious what you think now that a 43-year-old Silva was competitive and went the distance with him. Does it mean anything? Does he deserve a title shot after this? Genuinely curious.

— Simon Samano (@SJSamano) February 10, 2019

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However, the coach of Conor McGregor, John Kavanagh, and White are already convinced he is a future champion.

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Kavanagh on Twitter wrote that it is “just a matter of time” before Adesanya is the champion.

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#IsraelAdesanya seems to enter a ‘flow state’ with ease. Its fascinating to watch. I can only imagine it’s from doing something he really loves along with 1000s of hours of flow sparring. Would love to know more, just a matter of time before he has the belt.

— Coach Kavanagh (@John_Kavanagh) February 10, 2019

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It’s the one-year anniversary of Israel Adesanya’s UFC debut. 5-0 in that time. Mauled Brad Tavares, knocked out Derek Brunson, stepped up and beat Anderson Silva in a main event. That’s the type of start longtime champs are made of.

— Dave Doyle (@davedoylemma) February 10, 2019

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White also admitted having Adesanya as a champion would be good for the UFC because of the Kiwi’s ability to promote fights.

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“The kid’s got it,” White said on Sunday.

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“Not only is he talented in the Octagon, he’s talented outside of it too.

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“His interviews are exciting, he’s an interesting guy, he’s fun to watch and I think he’s got a really bright future here.”

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Adesanya’s fast lips did get him into trouble on Sunday in front of the Melbourne crowd after he appeared to take a shot at Whittaker for his failure to defend his belt.

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“I showed up to work, a lot of people didn’t, even though it’s out of their hands, sometimes it’s not in their control,” Adesanya said, clearly disappointed that the forecast trans-Tasman title showdown has been scrapped for now.

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White said on Sunday he will begin planning the middleweight division with a meeting on Tuesday where he will have the futures of Gastelum and Adesanya in his hands.

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Conor McGregor has called out UFC icon Anderson Silva to a super-fight claiming “it would be an honour”.

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The former two-weight ruler kept up his theme of reacting to the UFC’s weekend of fights on Twitter – after Israel Adesanya beat Silva in Australia.

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Adesanya outpointed The Spider, however, Silva displayed some of the striking skills that has cemented his name as one of the sports greats.

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THE $3.5 MILLION REASON DANA WHITE LOVES AUSTRALIA

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TORCH PASSED AS KIWI STAR DEFEATS LEGEND IN ‘MOVIE-LIKE’ BOUT

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After Silva was handed his ninth career loss, McGregor, who is serving a six-month suspension for his past in the UFC 229 post-fight brawl, called out the MMA legend as he praised the “crafty martial artist”.

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McGregor said: “Anderson is one crafty, crafty Martial Artist.

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“You only develop these methods through years of hard fought experience.

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“Phenomenal performance. The crafty veteran. Big respect always.

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“It would be an honor!”

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Anderson is one crafty, crafty Martial Artist.
You only develop these methods through years of hard fought experience.
Phenomenal performance.
The crafty veteran. Big respect always.
It would be an honor!

— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) February 10, 2019

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The potential fight would act as possibly the most pointless of routes McGregor could take upon his UFC return.

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Silva is a career middleweight having competed at light-heavyweight on three occasions – while at 43 he looks to be closing in on the end of his decorated 22-year career.

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While McGregor has made his run two stone lighter, at featherweight and lightweight – stepping up to welterweight twice to face Nate Diaz, but admitting his struggles at the 170 lb limit.

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However, McGregor ignited the potential showdown with Silva all the way in October before he fought Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229.

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Silva, not quick to ignore the what would be his highest career payday, obliged to McGregor’s call out and revealed he had even spoken to Dana White about a 180lb catchweight fight.

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Despite McGregor once again calling out the former middleweight king, Dana White had already stated he is on board for Donald Cerrone to be the Irishman’s return opponent.

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Cerrone fuelled rumours a McGregor showdown was edging nearer by tweeting out that an interim lightweight showdown between the pair had been finalised.

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The current lightweight champion, Nurmagomedov, is suspended for nine months for his involvement in the UFC 229 post-fight melee.

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With Nurmagomedov suspended, it frees up McGregor and Cerrone to battle for the interim belt while he awaits the winner.

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McGregor has also lit the fuse once again for a potential trilogy fight with Nate Diaz.

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Responding on Twitter to Anderson’s suggestion he could fight Nick Diaz at UFC 237 in Curbita, Brazil, the Irishman said he’d fight his old foe on the same card.

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Book it. I’ll fight Nate on it. https://t.co/ewh4aQ4E7A

— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) February 10, 2019

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This story originally appeared on The Sun

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