‘Completely selfless’ Aussie UFC star Robert Whittaker pulls out of megabucks fight so he can donate bone marrow to his sick one-year-old daughter
- UFC champion pulled out of career-defining fight for the sake of his young family
- He is thought to be donating bone marrow to his one-year-old daughter Lilliana
- Dana White, UFC president, called Whittaker ‘the real deal’ and a ‘good human’
- Star apologised to fans but vowed he’ll be back, saying ‘the best is yet to come’
Australian UFC champion Robert Whitaker has pulled out of a career-defining fight to donate bone marrow to his sick baby daughter, reports say.
Fan-favourite Whittaker, 29, is said to have made the brave decision for the sake of one-year-old Lilliana, who he shares with his wife Sofia.
He was due to fight Jared Cannonier at UFC 248 in March, and had hoped to bounce back after losing his middleweight title to Israel Adesanya in October.
While UFC boss Dana White did not discuss the reports, he said the reason behind Whittaker’s decision was one of ‘the most unselfish things’ he’d ever witnessed.
UFC star Robert Whittaker (pictured with his daughter Lilliana) has pulled out of a career-defining fight in March
Reports suggested Robert Whittaker (pictured) is donating bone marrow to his daughter after she fell ill
‘That’s personal for Whittaker. If Whittaker wants to talk about that, he can,’ he told Submission Radio.
‘But I’ll tell you this, when you talk about somebody whose priorities are in the right place, who is completely selfless and down to the core and a good human being, that’s Robert Whittaker.
‘The reason Robert Whittaker is not fighting in this fight is one of the most unselfish things I’ve seen in my life.
‘He’s a good man, he’s a good human being, and I have a lot of respect for him. Good luck to him in what he’s dealing with right now.
Robert Whittaker (pictured, right) shares a daughter, Lilliana, 1, with his wife Sofia (pictured)
Robert Whittaker (pictured with daughter Lilliana) was described as ‘the real deal’ by UFC boss Dana White
‘I can’t put into words and articulate how I feel about Robert Whittaker. He’s the real deal, man.’
He was also forced to pull out of a fight last February after suffering a hernia injury that required surgery.
Speaking about his decision to his 747,000 Instagram followers, he wrote: ‘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.
UFC champion Robert Whittaker (pictured, right) is a doting dad to his one-year-old daughter Lilliana (left)
‘Sorry to everyone again but I’ll be back. The best is yet to come.’
British middleweight Darren Till in talks to replace Whittaker in the fight.
In February last year, the star was rushed to hospital after he suffered a twisted and collapsed bowel, as well an internal intestinal hernia, which meant he could have died if he’d stepped in the ring.
Whittaker insisted he’d been ‘fighting the doctors the whole way’ until they warned him he’d lose part of his bowel if he didn’t undergo the surgery.
Robert Whittaker (pictured, left) had hoped to bounce back after losing to Israel Adesanya (right) during the Middleweight title fight in October 2019