Whittaker was then scheduled to fight Jared Cannonier at UFC 248, but the former champion withdrew from that encounter. Reports had surfaced that Whittaker was out to donate bone marrow to his sick daughter, but Whittaker says that burn out was the cause for the long absence.
“I have no idea where that came from,” Whittaker told The Daily Telegraph. “During the break, I got off all social media to spend time with family, so it was my old man who actually contacted me, explaining there was this crazy rumor going around, and from there, it just got a life of its own. But my kids were all fine. They are fine. It was me who had the issue. I just stopped. Then (I) stood there, asking, ‘What the (expletive) am I doing?’ It was Christmas Day. My family was somewhere else. That moment, it’s when everything crashed.”
The former champion has yet to announce any plans for a return to fighting and with the coronavirus pandemic raging, it could be a while before he competes again.
After suffering from burn out, one thing Whittaker has done was to start changing some routines to be with his family more.
“Not having those sessions, it means I can do things Saturday night too,” Whittaker said. “Same as I’m now playing with the kids late into Sunday afternoon rather than being completely spent. The changes I’ve made, it really will change my life. Not training to exhaustion every day, I guess you can say I’m living.”
Despite the fact that Whittaker’s return date is unknown at this time, it hasn’t stopped him from remaining the #1 ranked fighter in the UFC Middleweight Division.