UFC 234: Whittaker vs Gastelum might have been disappointing for many fans given the absence of the advertised main event, but it was far more upsetting for one of the fighters. When Robert Whittaker had to pull out for his potentially fatal hernia, Kelvin Gastelum was left without an opponent.
Given that he had trained hard for the event, this came as a big blow to him.
"I started to cry when they told me…This kind of training takes years away from your life."
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) February 10, 2019
“I started to cry when they told me. All I could think of was waking up at 5:30 AM to go do sprints and all the hard training and all the ass whoopings that I took this entire camp… This entire training takes years away from your life. This was the hardest camp I ever had in my life, and for them to rip this opportunity from my… I’m not going to have it, man. I’m not going to go home empty-handed. I promised my people that I was going to come home with some hardware, and here I am. I’m going to go home with the belt.
In the end, he took the belt and declared himself the champion anyway, while Anderson Silva and Israel Adesanya performed in the main event in his stead.
“I spent over 50K in this camp, and that’s a lot of money, but Dana said he was going to take care of me, so that’s all good.”