Kelvin Gastelum’s UFC 273 roller coaster ride ended abruptly on Friday with the announcement that the No. 10 ranked UFC middleweight was off the upcoming pay-per-view card.
The UFC simply stated that an injury had forced the former interim title challenger from the event. On Saturday, Gastelum provided some additional insight into his withdrawal in a recent post on social media.
“I wish it was an April Fool’s joke,” said Gastelum. “I wish this didn’t happen, but it did, and unfortunately, I have to withdraw from the fight.”
Gastelum, who is on a two-fight losing skid—and 1-5 dating back to his loss to Israel Adesanya in the interim 185-pound UFC title fight in April 2019--was originally scheduled to face Nassourdine Imavov on the April 9 PPV card. Visa issues forced Imavov from the card. On March 29. ESPN reported Imavov was to be replaced by Dricus Du Plessis. With Gastelum out, Du Plessis is also off the card.
Gastelum did not delve into his injury.
“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,” he said.
The 30-year-old Gastelum, who has been with the UFC since winning season 17 of the Ultimate Fighter in 2013, offered his thanks to Du Plessis.
“You were our last hope to stay on the card, and I was so thankful that you accepted the fight,” Gastelum said. “But I’m sorry.”
The longtime Kings MMA talent did not say when he expected to be healthy enough to step back into the octagon.
UFC 273 takes place on April 9 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. The main card streams on ESPN+ pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+ and early prelims on UFC Fight Pass and ESPN+.