Kelvin Gastelum didn't get the opportunity to become UFC middleweight champion Saturday night at UFC 234, but that didn't stop him from securing a title belt. Gastelum's planned fight with champion Robert Whittaker was called earlier in the day after Whittaker was sent to the hospital for emergency surgery to relief an abdominal hernia.
Gastelum, a former winner of The Ultimate Fighter, conducted interviews after the news with a title belt. The championship belt likely belonged to friend Henry Cejudo, who was in Australia to conduct a fan question-and-answer session earlier during fight-week.
"This is my belt," Gastelum proclaimed. "I earned this. I showed up, traveled thousands and thousands of miles from home, and made the weight. In my world, if the guy shows up and makes weight, and for some reason (the other guy) cancels, I win. I am the champion."
He added that when Whittaker heals up "he can get a crack at my title." Previously, UFC officials had stated the winner of the new main event between Israel Adesanya and Anderson Silva would be declared the No. 1 contender. Adesanya went on to win that bout via unanimous decision.
Gastelum did offer another view of the cancelled fight via social media, leaving a post on Instagram in which he said "God has a reason for doing things and I firmly believe his plans are much bigger and better than I can even imagine."
View this post on Instagram
With much sorrow I write that my fight for the middleweight title is off. I'm sorry to everyone that was expecting this great fight, Family , friends and followers from around the world. God has a reason for doing things and I firmly believe his plans are much bigger and better than I can even imagine. I'm so torn about this situation. A lifetime of pursuit to be able to reach this level and I hope none of these efforts will go in vain. #andnew #OnAmission4Gold