(Courtesy of Karyn Bryant)
Kelvin Gastelum lost his shot at UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker on the day they were supposed to fight. Gastelum and Whittaker both made it through the weigh-in process, the fight green lit, but then it all fell apart mere hours before UFC 234 got underway.
Whittaker had to pull out of the fight and undergo emergency surgery to repair an abdominal hernia of the intestine and a twisted and collapsed bowel.
While Gastelum was obviously disappointed, he snatched up a shiny new UFC belt and paraded it around the backstage area and into the arena at UFC 234, declaring himself the champ. That was a little bit out of character for Gastelum, which he readily admitted when meeting with the media in Los Angeles on Thursday.
In Gastelum’s scrum with reporters, he addressed the decision to declare himself the champion, his upcoming UFC 236 bout with Israel Adesanya for the interim title, his concerns about the escalation of the vitriol between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov, and much more.
Tune in Saturday, April 13, for UFC 236 full live results, where Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier battle for the next shot at UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. In the UFC 236 co-main event, Kelvin Gastelum and Israel Adesanya fight for the interim middleweight belt and a shot at champion Robert Whittaker.