Dricus Du Plessis is not happy about UFC veteran Kelvin Gastelum pulling out of their fight at UFC 273 on just one-week notice, leaving him without an opponent.
“I wish it was an April Fool’s joke,” Gastelum said in the video. “I wish this didn’t happen, but it did, and unfortunately, I have to withdraw from the fight.
“I was advised not to disclose the injury, but just know, I am compromised, and I can’t and won’t be heading into the fight compromised the way that I am.”
Du Plessis isn’t buying it and called him out during an appearance on The MMA Hour.
“It’s his fault,” du Plessis said. “He postponed to cancel the fight. Nobody wants to take a fight on a week’s notice. It’s hard to take a fight, especially on a week’s notice. And here Gastelum comes and waits until a week before the fight to all of a sudden say, ‘No, I’m injured,’ when he insisted on a new fight. It’s frustrating and a little bit disrespectful toward opponents and the sport as a whole.”
Du Plessis Has Doubts About Validity of Withdrawal
The Gastelum injury is the latest in a series of unfortunate events surrounding the fight. He was originally scheduled to take on Nassourdine Imavov, but that fight was canceled due to visa issues.
“Unfortunately, my opponent was unable to obtain a visa,” Gastelum tweeted. “Hopefully that gets worked out ASAP. We’re trying to figure out other options. So stay tuned.”
Du Plessis originally had his opponent fall out and was going to face Anthony Hernandez. However, the UFC elevated him to the scrap with Gastelum. Now he’s without an opponent once again.
“Who gets an injury a week before a fight?” du Plessis said. “What could you possibly be doing to get injured, and if he was injured, you don’t know what the camp was like, but why would he insist on having a new opponent when he had to pull out? … So he wasn’t injured on Monday, because that’s [when] he insisted on the fight, and all of a sudden, he’s injured on Friday? That sounds very fishy to me.”
Gastelum Needs a Win After Consecutive Losses
The fight with Gastelum would have been just his third in the UFC but the South African has been electric so far in his career. He’s 2-0 in the UFC and 16-2 overall, with all of his fights ending inside the distance.
Gastelum is on a two-fight skid but fell to notable names in Jared Cannonier and Robert Whittaker. Du Plessis thinks that might have played a factor in his decision.
“I guess they started watching tape and that’s where the problems started, to be honest. … He really needs a win – let’s not beat around the bush, he needs a win – and this is a great opportunity for him,” Du Plessis said. “He’s fighting a guy who’s making some noise, a South African guy, he’s ranked No. 20, and he finds out, let’s get this easy fight and get in the win column. … Then he watched the tape and realized this is no walkover fight.”
UFC 273 is slated for Saturday in Florida.