UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker was unable to defend his title against Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of UFC 234 on Saturday, after he suffered a collapsed bowel and an internal hernia that required emergency surgery just hours before the fight.

UFC President Dana White and Whittaker's team later revealed that the injury could have been fatal if he got in the octagon. Whittaker provided an update from his hospital bed late Sunday night, as seen in his IG post embedded below.

Dana White initially stated that the Whittaker's recovery time could be as little as four-to-six weeks, though it remains to be seen when the Middleweight champ will be ready to defend his belt.

Whittaker's message (Transcribed via MMA Junkie):

“Let me say that I’m sorry to all my friends and family and fans that came out to watch me perform. But unfortunately I couldn’t be there. I tried my best to try and swing it. I was fighting the doctors all the way up until they said, ‘You have to get surgery or you’re going to lose part of your bowel.’ Or it could be potentially fatal. I had to look at my health first — I’m sorry, guys.”

“I’m sorry to Gastelum cause he came out here, prepped, and came a long way and I couldn’t give him a show.”

“You guys know what it takes to keep me from the octagon. So for you guys to be behind me and supporting me and sending me your love like that, it means a lot to me. It really does. And it makes it easier for me to try even harder next time, to get in there and to put my soul on bare and put on a good show for you guys.”

“I’ll be back better than ever. This is one obstacle that I’ve jumped. It’s not going to keep me down forever. I’m going to be back — better than ever.”

(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)