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Volume 7 No. 149

Events and Attractions

Robert Whittaker will not be stripped of his middleweight title -- despite having now withdrawn from consecutive Australian title fights -- "thanks largely to his still wanting to compete minutes before undergoing two bouts of emergency surgery early on Sunday morning," according to Nick Walshaw of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. Slated to headline UFC 234 in Melbourne on Sunday, Whittaker was instead rushed to the hospital at 3am "suffering both twisted and collapsed bowel, plus an internal hernia of the intestine." UFC President Dana White said that the 28-year-old had to be convinced by his wife, Sofia, and his father, Jack, not to take the Rod Laver Arena bout, "especially after surgeons explained that a body shot from American challenger Kelvin Gastelum could kill him" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 2/10). UFC 234 "drew an announced attendance of 15,238 fans" to Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne (UFC).