UFC 234 will move forward with Israel Adesanya vs. Anderson Silva taking over the headlining slot.
UFC president Dana White told ESPN that Whittaker had been taken to hospital after complaining of stomach pain and was diagnosed with a hernia. "It wasn't a weight-cutting related issue or anything like that, it's just a very unfortunate hernia issue which may even require a procedure".
ESPN's Ariel Helwani does not paint a pretty picture of what occurred that night, with Whittaker now in surgery.
This is the second time Whittaker has been forced to withdraw from a scheduled title fight down under, after a range of injuries kept him from fighting Luke Rockhold at UFC 221 in Perth previous year.
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Other fights on the UFC 234 main card include Rani Yahya vs. Ricky Simon (Bantamweight), Montana De La Rosa vs. Nadia Kassem (Women Flyweight) and Jim Crute vs. Sam Alvey (Light Heavyweight).
The Octagon returns to the Land Down Under on Saturday night as UFC 234 is live from the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Whittaker was set to defend his title for the first time since becoming interim champion at UFC 213.
Elevated to the co-main is the lightweight matchup between Albuquerque action hero Lando Vannata and surging Brazilian Marcos Mariano.
He is a heavy favorite going up against the 43-year old Silva, who has not fought in two years, and a victory should catapult the entertaining Style Bender into the main event scene.