Kelvin Gastelum has released a statement about his withdrawal from UFC 273.
The one-time interim UFC middleweight title challenger apologized to fans and his scheduled opponent for bowing out of UFC 273, posting a video on Twitter where he said he was “compromised” and unable to fight.
“I wish it was an April Fool’s joke,” said Gastelum, whose withdrawal was announced by the UFC on Friday, April 1. “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 originally was scheduled to meet Nassourdine Imavov at the April 9 pay-per-view event, which takes place at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla. He sought to reverse a 1-5 skid against top competition including current champ Israel Adesanya, whose decision win at UFC 236 in 2019 started his slide.
For Du Plessis, the cancellation was the fourth expected booking to fall through for the South African prospect, who burst on to the scene with a pair of knockout wins in the octagon.
“You were our last hope to stay on the card, and I was so thankful that you accepted the fight,” Gastelum told his would-be foe. “But I’m sorry.”
Gastelum did not reveal a timetable for his recovery but said he is still committed to winning a UFC title.
“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.”
UFC 273 is headlined by a pair of title fights: Alexander Volkanovski defends his featherweight crowd against The Korean Zombie and bantamweight champ Aljamain Sterling faces interim champ Petr Yan. As of this writing, there are 13 tips on the fight card.
Check out Gastelum’s full video below.