Whittaker pulls out of Games team for UFC

By , 25/04/2020 19:39

UFC star Rob Whittaker is “gutted” to be pulling out of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.UFC middleweight champion Rob Whittaker says he’s gutted about pulling out of the n Commonwealth Games wrestling team less than three weeks before the event.

Wrestling confirmed Whittaker submitted a letter of resignation to Commonwealth Games on Friday and were awaiting word from chef de mission Steve Moneghetti that his withdrawal had been approved.

Due to time restrictions on entry submissions, Wrestling must now receive special approval from the Commonwealth Games Federation before they are able to replace Whittaker.

The Sydneysider stood to be stripped of his belt if he was injured during the Games and was unable to make his first title defence against Cuban Yoel Romero in Chicago in June.

“It was a super-tough call. I’m actually gutted to not get in there and compete for the Commonwealth Games and compete for ,” Whittaker told AAP on Saturday.

“I’m always up for the challenge and the opportunity to represent but one (UFC) pays the bills.

“If I would have got injured during the Games, I would have been stripped of my belt and the implications and consequences of that are quite drastic.

“I can’t risk that for me or my family. I’ve put a lot of hard work in.

“I know my priorities and fighting in the UFC and the mixed martial arts is always my greatest priority.

“UFC have made it clear that they don’t really want me to compete. It is what it is.”

Whittaker said his decision would make it hard to represent at other major international wrestling competitions, including the Olympics.

“It’s definitely difficult for me,” he said.

“To be honest, I’m not sure if that path follows my path in mixed martial arts.

“I wrestle on the side to keep me sharp and to increase my skill set in wrestling for mixed martial arts, not the other way around.”

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