UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker was set to defend the gold against former UFC Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold in the main event of UFC 221.
Whittaker has since been pulled from the bout and replaced by Yoel Romero, who now battles Rockhold for the vacant UFC Interim Middleweight Title. The winner of that bout will presumably battle Whittaker once he returns to action.
Dana White is the UFC President and he says Whittaker is suffering from a staph infection in the stomach.
“He had staph infection in his stomach,” White said to TSN. “From what I understand it wasn’t treated properly and started to eat away at parts of his organs. He’s in serious condition, so it’s going to be a minute before he’s back, I think. Hopefully it turns around quick, but that stuff is life threatening if not treated the right way.”
There is currently no time frame for the champion to return to action, but more should be known as his recovery progresses.
UFC 221 takes place on Saturday, February 10 from the Perth Arena in Perth, Australia with Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.