UFC middleweight contender Robert Whittaker was criticized by coach Eugene Bareman for turning down a title shot against Israel Adesanya.
After defeating Kelvin Gastelum in lopsided fashion at UFC Vegas 24, it was fully expected that Whittaker would get the next title shot against Adesanya. However, the promotion announced that it will be Marvin Vettori who next takes on Adesanya at UFC 263 on June 12. Whittaker later explained the reasons that he was unable to go so soon because he’s banged up, and the UFC decided to go with Vettori. But for Bareman, it was a bad call.
Speaking to Combat TV, Adesanya’s coach Bareman criticized Whittaker for his decision to turn down the title shot with “The Last Stylebender,” saying that “Bobby Knuckles” is now in the pool again with the rest of the contenders at 185lbs after turning down the fight.
“Robert has to — when you turn down an opportunity like that, just like we know — when you turn down an opportunity like that now you have to sit at the back of the list again. Now he goes into the pool again, which is unfortunate for him but he has his reason for making his decision, but now as far as we’re concerned, he said no. He’s in the pool again. Now there’s all these guys coming up, there’s Holland, there’s Till. He was able to separate himself from that, unfortunately for whatever personal reasons, he hasn’t taken the fight,” Bareman said about Whittaker (h/t TheMacLife).
“Now he goes back into that pool and has to keep fighting to earn his spot, just like we would have to if we refused the title shot. Vettori’s the one that stepped up so he’s the one we’re fully concentrating on at the moment.”
Do you agree with Eugene Bareman’s criticism of Robert Whittaker for his decision?
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