In January, former UFC Whittaker middleweight champion (20-5 MMA, 11-3 UFC) pulled out of his fight against UFC 248 against Jared Cannonier, and rumors quickly circulated suggesting that it was because he had donated bone marrow to his daughter. Whittaker said the rumors were completely false, however.
“I don’t know where it came from,” Whittaker told the Daily Telegraph.
“During the break, I left all social networks to spend time with my family, so it was my old man who contacted me, explaining that there was this crazy rumor going around, and from there she had her own life. But my children were fine. They are fine. I was the one who had the problem. “
Whittaker explained that he was doing his typical Wanda Dune climb on Christmas Day when he suddenly stopped halfway up and had a moment of realization.
“I just stopped,” said Whittaker. “Then (I) stood there, asking, ‘What am I doing (explanatory)? “It was Christmas day. My family was elsewhere. This moment is when everything has crashed. “
The past few years have been difficult for Whittaker, who has had to suffer a double hernia, fight chickenpox and go through two wars with Yoel Romero. He adopted a diet that saw him train seven days a week, causing him to miss precious time with his friends and family. Ultimately, his full schedule turned out to be too exhausting, both physically and mentally.
“I sacrificed everything,” said Whittaker. “My team suggested several plans that I followed and, because it worked, I just went for it. But you can’t go on like this forever, you can’t. Worse than the physical squeak, too, was mental flight. I was just not at home. “
He finally lost his title to Israel Adesanya at UFC 243 last October in a fight where he said he was not feeling well.
“I just wasn’t myself,” said Whittaker. “It’s the game though, you fight and you fight, but I know I can do much better, and I have performed much better. “
Since then, Whittaker has changed his team and training schedule as he prepares for a potential fight with Darren Till in August. Another key change in its preparation: it no longer climbs on these dunes on a Sunday.
“Not having these sessions means I can do things on Saturday night too,” said Whittaker. “Same thing I play now with the kids late Sunday afternoon rather than being completely spent. The changes I have made will really change my life. I don’t train for exhaustion every day, I guess you can say I live. “