Just a few days ago, we learned that Australian MMA fighter Robert Whittaker was withdrawing from his upcoming bout with Jared Cannonier at UFC 248. At the time, the reason for Whittaker’s removal was completely unknown, and the focus shifted to finding a replacement to fight Cannonier.
Now, though, rumors are circulating that Whittaker pulled out of the fight to donate bone marrow to his sick one-year-old daughter, Lilliana. Whittaker himself has not confirmed or denied the reports, although he announced his withdrawal from the event with a photo of him and Lilliana and a caption that emphasized his need to spend time with his family.
“I’m sorry to all my friends, supporters and family for not being able to fight in March. A lot has happened over the 12 last months and I need to take some time now to be with my family, slow things down and to refocus. Sorry to everyone again but I’ll be back. The best is yet to come.”
In an interview with Submission Radio, Dana White wouldn’t clarify exactly why Whittaker had withdrawn from the fight, but gave heavy praise to the fighter’s character, saying that his reason for pulling out of UFC 248 was “one of the most unselfish things [he’d] ever seen in [his] life.”
Whether the rumors are true or Whittaker has another reason for taking time away from the Octagon, it’s clear that his priorities are in the right place.
Editor’s note, 4/24/2020: Whittaker has now spoken up about his reason for withdrawing from the fight in an interview with The Daily Telegraph, stating that he took some time off to take care of his mental health and spend time with his family.