Robert Whittaker ruled out of UFC 234 title defence

Robert Whittaker ruled out of UFC 234 title defence

The "people's main event" has become the official main event at UFC 234 in Melbourne after middleweight champion Robert Whittaker was forced to withdraw from the card with a hernia.

ESPN's Brett Okamoto reported the news, citing UFC chief Dana White.

In the co-main event Israel Adesanya looks to collect even more hype by finishing Anderson "The Spider" Silva.

He later said Whittaker would be undergoing surgery on Sunday for the problem.

Per Okamoto, the hernia was not related to Whittaker's weight cut.

Whittaker, who successfully weighed in on Friday, was experiencing pain in his abdomen late last evening and was immediately taken to the hospital where he was diagnosed. The bout will determine the next contender to the title, likely after Whittaker defends vs. Gastelum.

Silva was guaranteed a title shot by White if he defeats Adesanya at UFC 234 at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne this weekend.

This marks the second time that Whittaker has been slated to fight in Australia, but been unable to compete because of complications.

For all the good luck that the UFC had in keeping fights scheduled through January, February is not starting off the same way. The Brazilian will take on a fighter 14 years his junior in Adesanya, who is sixth in the UFC middleweight rankings and 15-0 in his MMA career.