Hollywood heavyweights but no headline act for UFC
HOLLYWOOD megastars Matt Damon and Chris Hemsworth were in the house at UFC 234 yesterday — but the headline act was noticeably absent.
Two of the world’s biggest celebrities were left disappointed when Australian UFC champ Robert Whittaker — the fighter both men had arrived at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena to see — was forced out of his title blockbuster on home soil after being rushed to hospital for emergency surgery.
Whittaker was hospitalised about 3am yesterday with a twisted and collapsed bowel, plus an internal hernia of the intestine. According to his team, the Sydney father-of-three was still wanting to take the bout until five minutes before he underwent dual surgeries.
However, UFC president Dana White later revealed surgeons had told the champ shortly before going under the knife that, had he fought American challenger Kelvin Gastelum, a blow to the stomach could have proved fatal. Despite the cancellation, buddies Hemsworth and Damon were still cageside alongside a host of other celebrities including boxing great Jeff Fenech, Brisbane Broncos coach Anthony Seibold, and Paralympian Dylan Alcott.
Only a handful of fans took up an offer for a refund.