Whittaker chose UFC over Commonwealth Games

It has emerged that Robert Whittaker had the opportunity to represent Australia at the Commonwealth Games however he opted to prioritise preparations for UFC 225 instead.

The Commonwealth Games are like a mini-Olympics for the different countries that are part of the British Commonwealth. This year the event will be staged on Australia’s Gold Coast – Whittaker’s adopted country.

After winning Australia’s national freestyle championship in the 97-kilogram (213-pound) weight class last year and also the qualifying tournament to make the national team back in November, Whittaker had the opportunity to compete for his country in one of the biggest sporting events in the world.

However, with his first defence of his middleweight title taking place in early June and the Commonwealth Games starting in early April, it was a case of one or the other, not both.

And the 27-year-old opted to stay loyal to the trade that pays his bills and puts food on the table.

”Obviously, wrestling is a vital part of mixed martial arts,” Whittaker said recently.

“I managed to compete in wrestling to sharpen my skills, one thing led to another and it led to the Commonwealth Games.

“The UFC wasn’t too happy with my competing in the Commonwealth Games.

“I was told I would have been stripped of the title if I had gotten injured. Everyone knows my priority. This [UFC] is my job.

”It’s not really a choice to be made.

“If it’s a choice, providing finances and putting food on the table and being paid for my job, or competing in the Commonwealth Games where I’m not making money, is there really a choice to be made?

“I thought for an hour or two, but there was never a choice to be made.”