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30th Jun 2018

Kelvin Gastelum was just as surprised at Dana White’s sharp comments as everyone else

Dana White raised a few eyebrows with his comments in Chicago earlier this month

Ben Kiely

Dana White raised a few eyebrows with his comments in Chicago earlier this month

One of the most surprising moments of Dana White’s UFC 225 press conference was when he hung Kelvin Gastelum out to dry. with back-to-back wins over Michael Bisping and Jacare under his belt, many felt Gastelum was next in line to fight champion Robert Whittaker. However, White announced that the TUF winner needed to get his shit together first.

The UFC president claimed Gastelum ‘should’ have been waiting in the wings as a replacement. This would have been handy considering the challenger, Yoel Romero, missed weight which resulted in the headliner changing to a non-title fight. White added that ‘personal issues’ got in the way of this plan.

“No comment on Kelvin Gastelum… he should have been here tonight when this all went down. But, no he couldn’t do it. He’s got some personal issues that he seriously needs to take care of.”

“Yeah, we wanted Kelvin to be the guy for back-up here. I’m not going to expand on it because it’s personal. There’s some shit that he needs to get together and handle quick.”


Gastelum appeared on Monday’s new look MMA Hour with Luke Thomas to respond to White’s claims. He confirmed that the promotion was courting him to be a stand-in for UFC 225’s main event.

“At first, they came to me right after my fight with Jacare. They had told me that they wanted me to be the back-up. You know, keep training and stay in shape for the next month and my manager was negotiating money to get from that. I wasn’t going to be doing it for free. So, that fell through. They tell me that’s not happening. Ok.”

Once negotiations over ‘the money part’ broke down, he put it behind him and went on holidays. The promotion contacted him again to see if he could stand in if there was a pullout. But by that stage, it was too late. He had blown up to over 200lbs by drinking an eating in Mexico. He reckons that if he tried to cut the weight on that short notice, he would have been ‘in the hospital’.

“So, I went on vacation. I went to Cancun. I was drinking and eating the whole week. And then I get another call Wednesday before heading out to Chicago, a day and a half from weigh-ins. It was Wednesday night and I get a call saying if I can fight on Saturday.  I looked down at my belly and I’m like, ‘No, I don’t think I can do this on a day and a half.”

As for White’s comments, Gastelum believes they were somewhat retaliatory to the negotiations. That being said, he admitted wanting to speak to White personally to clarify what he meant by them.

“I think he was just a little upset about me not taking the fight and just said those comments. (I’m) dumbfounded because I don’t know where those comments are coming from. I just figured he was upset over me not taking the fight a day and a half before.”

It will be interesting to see who gets the next middleweight title shot now!