In the hours following UFC 220, UFC President Dana White revealed the reason why days prior UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker was pulled from the main event of UFC 221, which will be held on Feb. 10 in Perth, Australia.
White stated that Whittaker was suffering from a mistreated staph infection, putting Whittaker in serious condition. Now, the UFC middleweight champion recently took part in an interview where he talked about his illness and having to withdraw.
“Everyone knows I like to fight injured,” Whittaker told Submission Radio at the UFC 221 open workouts. “Half the fights I’ve taken I’ve always been injured. Just before I got ill, I pulled my hamstring. We could work around it and we were doing things to compensate for it, we were working around it, but then I got a really bad infection and the infection and the antibiotics just took it out of me.
“I was really struggling to recover and then right at the end of the infection, I got the chickenpox. That’s why I’ve got the scars all over my face. It was an absolute mess. If anyone’s had it, it’s just horrible.”
Whittaker added that he’d be happy to take on the winner of the new UFC 221 main event — an interim middleweight title fight between former champion Luke Rockhold (Whittaker’s original opponent) and Yoel Romero (who Whittaker beat for the interim title at UFC 213 last July).
You can watch the full interview in the video player above.