Vettori confirmed the news to MMA Fighting on Wednesday after the ex-champion notified the UFC that he would be unable to compete on June 11. Whittaker later issued a statement confirming he will be unable to compete at UFC 275.
“Sorry to say guys due to an injury I took early in the camp I’m not able to compete in June,” Whittaker wrote on Twitter. “I did everything I could to get it right but it’s not healing in time. All this means is that I’ll be back in the octagon a couple months later and I’ll be better than ever.”
Sorry to say guys due to an injury I took early in the camp I’m not able to compete in June. I did everything I could to get it right but its not healing in time. All this means is that I’ll be back in the octagon a couple months later and I’ll be better than ever pic.twitter.com/Q0PEtjxDfs
— Robert Whittaker (@robwhittakermma) April 21, 2022
It’s unfortunate news for Whittaker as he looked to bounce back from a loss to reigning middleweight champion Israel Adesanya in his last outing.
As for Vettori, the one-time title challenger still wants to stay active with hopes that he’ll get to compete sooner rather than later against another top ranked opponent. In a message on Twitter, Vettori immediately targeted Darren Till and Khamzat Chimaev as potential opposition now that Whittaker is unable to compete.
In a separate message, Vettori said that he would be willing to face Till in his hometown of Liverpool if the UFC wanted to book a fight in that location.
“It feels like I’m living in a déjà vu,” Vettori said. “Nobody wants to dance with me again. Come on somebody. [Darren] Till where you at? Khamzat [Chimaev], where you at? Come on smash boys Let’s go. I’ll take you both together. Let’s go.”
In addition to Till and Chimaev as possible opponents, Vettori is also open to a matchup against ex-UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold, who has been teasing his return to action following a nearly three-year long absence from the sport. Rockhold recently called for a fight against Paulo Costa, who fell to Vettori this past October.
Now Vettori is willing to welcome Rockhold back if that’s the fight the UFC wants to book.
It remains to be seen what will end up as the ultimate decision now that Vettori is without an opponent at UFC 275. The card on June 11 from Singapore will be headlined by a pair of title fights as light heavyweight champion Glover Teixeira defends his belt against Jiri Prochazka while Rose Namajunas takes on Carla Esparza in a rematch with the strawweight title on the line.