Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker is upset.
Following a confirmation Monday that Paulo Costa (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) will not compete at UFC 284 in Perth, Australia, Whittaker (24-6 MMA, 15-4 UFC) confirmed news of his own.
Opponent-less, he won’t remain on the Feb. 13 card either.
“It’s very upsetting to say they’re true,” Whittaker said in a video posted to Twitter. “The fight with Costa has fallen apart. UFC tried everything in their power to get him to the fight. They gave him the new contract, from what I understand, to take the fight and he still didn’t take the fight. So yeah, the Perth fight is not happening.”
Whittaker revealed the promotion plans to now have him compete in March or April instead. He did not mention a specific date or targeted opponent. Whittaker apologize profusely to those who bought tickets to see him compete.
“I was prepared to train through Christmas, to train through New Year’s, to put in the work,” Whittaker said. “We’re already so deep into my camp. Everyone knows that I train (hard). My camps are quite long. I’m already so deep into my camp and work and I want to take the family out and go on holiday after the fight. I wanted to buy the kids some new toys, earn some money, you know, pay the rent. Yeah, all that is put on the back burner for now. All of that has been pushed back. It’s upsetting for me.”
Status Update #UFC284 #UFCPerth @ufc @UFC_AUSNZ pic.twitter.com/dPl4q2S8nj
— Robert Whittaker (@robwhittakermma) December 19, 2022
The bout between Whittaker and Costa was announced by the promotion in late October. Since the announcement, Costa repeatedly said online he had not signed for the bout and alluded to it not happening at all. Tuesday, a report from ESPN confirmed the bout will not happen, as Costa continues to attempt to renegotiate a new promotional agreement.
Whittaker, 31, is 13-2 in his most recent 15 fights. The only two defeats were title bout losses against Israel Adesanya.