Whittaker Releases Statement on UFC 248 Withdrawal
Robert Whittaker has released a statement on social media to give explanation on his withdrawal from UFC 248.
Whittaker was scheduled to take on Jared Cannonier in a major middleweight match-up at the March pay-per-view event. The bout was scheduled to serve as Whittaker’s first fight since losing the middleweight title to Israel Adesanya at UFC 243 in October.
Whittaker, however, pulled out of the bout on January 15. In a statement on Instagram, Whittaker did not go in-depth into the personal reasons that caused his withdrawal, but he stated a lot has happened in his life over the last year and he needs to take time to be with his family.
View this post on Instagram
I'm sorry to all my friends, supporters and family for not being able to fight in March. A lot has happened over the 12 last months and I need to take some time now to be with my family, slow things down and to refocus. Sorry to everyone again but I'll be back. The best is yet to come.
This is the third year in a row that has seen Whittaker pull out of at least one fight. In 2018, a staph infection prevented Whittaker from making a first defense of the 185-pound title against Luke Rockhold at UFC 221. Last year, Whittaker was scheduled to defend against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 234 but was forced out of the bout mere hours before the event due to a hernia.
UFC President did not provide specifics when asked about the withdrawal by Submission Radio but appeared to be choked up when discussing the matter.
UFC 248 is scheduled to be headlined by Adesanya defending the middleweight title against Yoel Romero and Weili Zhang defending the women’s strawweight title against Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
While not confirmed by the promotion, Darren Till appears to be the targeted replacement opponent for Cannonier.
BREAKING: I have confirmed with multiple sources that a fight between Jared Cannonier and Darren Till is in the works. Cannonier was originally slated to face Robert Whittaker at #UFC248
— Amy Kaplan (@PhotoAmy33) January 17, 2020
Original Story: MMA Fighting