Robert Whittaker will not be fighting at UFC 284 in Perth on February 12 (Feb. 11 in the US) due to a contract dispute between the UFC and his opponent Paulo Costa.
The middleweight contest was the first fight announced for the card back in October, although Costa’s contract situation has seen it scrapped.
Costa had previously declared the announcement as “fake news” on social media, however the Brazilian has made a habit of stirring the pot online.
The bout with Whittaker was to be Costa’s last on his current UFC deal, with the former title challenger set to become a free agent.
Whittaker gave fans the disappointing news on Tuesday, his 32nd birthday.
“I’m sure you’ve seen the rumours going around about the Perth card and it’s upsetting to say that they’re true. The fight with Costa has fallen apart,” Whittaker told his social media followers.
“UFC tried everything in their power to get him to the fight.
“They gave him the new contract, from what I understand, to take the fight and he still didn’t take the fight. The Perth fight is not happening.”
— Robert Whittaker (@robwhittakermma) December 19, 2022
Whittaker confirmed he would not be competing in the UFC’s return to Australia in any capacity, but hoped to get a fight shortly afterwards.
“They’re looking to reschedule me March, April. This is very upsetting,” he added.
“I’m sorry to all the friends, fans and family that are heading over there to watch me do work but it’s out of my hands.
“I’m upset, I was prepared to train through Christmas, train through New Years, to put in the work.
“I’m just going to train like a demon and just take out my frustrations on the next guy, whoever they put in front of me.”
Despite the loss of Whittaker vs. Costa, Aussie fight fans will still get to see a host of local and international talent in action.
Headlining the card will be a blockbuster lightweight title fight in which featherweight and pound-for-pound king Alex Volkanovski will look to become a two-weight champion by defeating Islam Makhachev.
An interim featherweight title bout between Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett will co-main the event at the RAC Arena.
MORE: UFC 284: Who is fighting in Perth when the UFC returns to Australia?
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