Kelvin Gastelum is out of UFC 273 with an injury and the veteran scrapper has released a video discussing his situation.
Gastelum was slated to face short-notice replacement Dricus Du Plessis on April 9 during the pay-per-view event, but will have to wait a little longer for his first fight of the year. The 30-year-old said the reason for withdrawing was an injury, but he’s been instructed not to disclose the injury he’s dealing with — a tactic likely to prevent future opponents from targeting it.
“I wish it was an April Fool’s joke,” Gastelum said in a video posted to social media. “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.”
Gastelum is on a two-fight skid but fell to notable names in Jared Cannonier and Robert Whittaker. The former middleweight title challenger has lost five of his last six fights but said retirement is not even in his thoughts yet.
“It’s going to be worth the ride, guys,” he said. “It’s going to be one hell of a book once it’s all done and finished. I’m not done – far from over it. … I truly believe that we can get the job done. If I didn’t, believe it in my heart, then I wouldn’t say it.”
Visa Issues Changed Gastelum’s Opponent Previously
The Gastelum is the latest in a series of unfortunate events. 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 stepped up to face Gastelum but will now be without a fight for the second time with the UFC announcing the cancelation. 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.
Du Plessis posted a photo from his training on the day the fight was canned, writing: “Big power up session today with the godfather @coachmornevisser and training partner Ian Visser. Never been so ready for anything in my life, let’s go!”
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.
Ilir Latifi Also Drops Out of UFC 273
The UFC announced another change to the card, with Ilir Latifi dropping out of his fight with Aleksei Oleinik due to medical issues. He was previously set to fight at UFC Columbus but had to pull out on fight day with a non-COVID illness.
He was scheduled to fight dangerous submission specialist Aleksei Oleinik, who has 46 submission wins on his resume.
Stepping in instead will be Jared Vanderaa, who is 12-7 in his MMA career. Vanderaa has lost three of his last four fights.