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Manager: Robert Whittaker Had Emergency Surgery 24 Hours Before UFC Saudi Arabia



In addition to being paired with a short-notice opponent, Robert Whittaker faced more adversity heading into his showdown with Ikram Aliskerov in the UFC on ABC 6 main event.

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Whittaker’s manager, Titus Day, told Fox Sports Australia that the former middleweight champion underwent emergency root canal surgery just 24 hours prior to the bout.

“Rob has a really bad abscess that flared up a week before flying out,” Day said. “He had headaches, tooth pain — it was like he’d been kicked in the side of the head. He couldn’t train, couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep. It was f—-ing painful.

“The whole side of his head was in pain so we had to rush him in for emergency surgery.”

“The Reaper” appeared to be no worse for wear, as he vanquished Aliskerov via first-round knockout on Saturday at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for his second consecutive triumph.

“Rob had already stopped training a few days prior to the surgery in Sydney,” Day said. “And then flew out with his face still numb. We had no idea if it was going to be all right. Everyone was just praying the swelling would go down and everything would be OK. And thankfully, it was. But Rob’s still got pain there. Still needs more surgery to be done in the next couple of weeks.”

After the victory, Whittaker expressed interest in serving as the backup fighter for the UFC 305 title clash between Dricus Du Plessis and Israel Adesanya in Perth, Australia. That possibility, as well as Whittaker competing in a separate fight on the Aug. 17 card, is currently uncertain.

“Right now, regarding Perth, it’s just too early to say,” Day said. “Obviously there was a lot of talk on the night about Rob being the backup for that UFC 305 main event. There was also talk about him fighting somebody else, too. And potentially, he could still do either of those. He’ll have to meet with the team and talk it through. Rob’s also promised his family a holiday so until he discusses it with his family, with his coaches and doctor, we don’t know.”
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