"There's certain opportunities you can't say no to" - Israel Adesanya's coach doesn't understand Robert Whittaker passing up a title shot

Robert Whittaker (Left) and Eugene Bareman (right)
Robert Whittaker (Left) and Eugene Bareman (right)
Rajneesh Suhas Reddy

Eugene Bareman thinks Robert Whittaker might face the repercussions for turning down a title fight against his pupil Israel Adesanya. The UFC offered a middleweight title fight to Robert Whittaker following his win over Kelvin Gastelum.

However, Marvin Vettori got the opportunity when Whittaker turned down the fight, citing injuries.

In a recent interview with Combat TV, Eugene Bareman said he is aware of the injuries that prompted Whittaker to pass up the title shot. However, he believes that fighters need to push through such injuries because big opportunities a hard to come by.

"I know that my team and my guys have been put in positions and we know that there's certain opportunities that you can't say no to and we never have. We've taken every single opportunity and we've had adversity... And we pushed through. Most of the time, it has paid off, sometimes it hasn't," said Eugene Bareman.
"But we understood the gravity of the opportunity that we were taking. We also understood that the opportunities won't come around... We do a lot of hard work and there's repercussions for saying no to those opportunities," added Eugene Bareman.

Although Eugene Bareman's assessment is based on practical experience, Robert Whittaker is in a situation where he cannot leave things to chance. The former champ lost to The Stylebender in lopsided fashion in the first fight. Another loss to the same opponent could severely impact Robert Whittaker's title aspirations.

Robert Whittaker suspects Israel Adesanya's team provided an impractical timeline to deny him a title shot

In a recent interview with Submission Radio, Robert Whittaker revealed that the UFC offered him the Israel Adesanya rematch for UFC 263 event immediately after the Kelvin Gastelum fight.

Whittaker, who was also dealing with injuries heading into the fight against Gastelum, said that he couldn't prepare for a rematch with Adesanya by June 12. He suspects that Israel Adesanya's team was fully aware of Whittaker's situation and proposed the date knowing full well that it wouldn't be accepted.

"I had some injuries I had to deal with. My hand was busted, my shin was busted... I have two weeks of quarantine. It just wasn't possible (to prepare for the fight). I can't help but feel this was a play on Adesanya's camp's behalf... But I am more than happy to chill out and wait for the winner of that fight to happen," said Robert Whittaker.

Robert Whittaker has defended his No.1 spot in the rankings three times since losing the title to Israel Adesanya. All three of The Reaper's wins suggest that the rematch with Adesanya could play out differently than their first meeting.

Meanwhile, Israel Adesanya is coming off the first loss of his professional MMA career against Jan Blachowicz. If Whittaker's claims hold water, it is a smart move on Adesanya's behalf to avoid the toughest fight in the division immediately after a major career setback.

Edited by Ritwik Kumar
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