July 15, 2024

Kelvin Gastelum’s coach blames motorcycle accident, staph infections for weight cut chaos at UFC Saudi Arabia


One of Kelvin Gastelum’s coaches has broken his silence on the weight-cut controversy that infuriated the UFC community in Saudi Arabia.

Kelvin Gastelum was Public Enemy #1 last week after the TUF winner admitted he was struggling to make weight ahead of his UFC Saudi Arabia clash with Daniel Rodriguez, forcing the promotion to move the fight up to middleweight.

Pundits and fans alike were quick to condemn Gastelum for a lack of discipline, with one of his coaches now offering some personal insights surrounding what went wrong for the former title challenger.

Kelvin Gastelum reacts after his victory against Daniel Rodriguez in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Kingdom Arena on June...
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Gastelum’s coach weighs in on ‘what went wrong’ for UFC Saudi Arabia

Speaking via his official YouTube channel podcast, Kelvin Gastelum’s coach Santino DeFranco explained that there was a whole host of reasons that culminated in the TUF alumni failing to make weight in Saudi Arabia.

“It’s not acceptable to miss weight all right, I’m not saying this is an excuse [but] I’m just telling you what kind of happened,” DeFranco opened.

According to the coach, Kelvin Gastelum’s weight-cut chaos was due in part to a motorcycle accident he suffered just before the fight was announced, multiple staph infections leading up to the bout, and even ‘different meals’ in Saudi Arabia.

“First of all, he didn’t accept the fight with D-Rod, he never did, he woke up to Instagram and it was on, and he was like ‘Whoa what’s going on here’ like that was that.

“When he woke up to the news, he had been in a motorcycle accident like a couple days beforehand in Thailand, [he] got all cut up and scraped up.

“Got home [and] was still all cut up and scraped up but then he got a staph infection from all of the cuts and everything from the motorcycle accident – and it got bad.

“Then he’s going flying out to Saudi Arabia two weeks early to acclimate to the time because he’s fought on Fight Island [before] and that time was really rough,” DeFranco continued, claiming that the food prep provided also wasn’t up to the standards needed for a UFC fighter in the middle of a weight cut.

“Their concept of healthy food [in Saudi Arabia] for a weight cut is like healthy food for regular people eating healthy, not this is how you cut weight – there was just stuff that wasn’t right, and he was trying to whittle his way through, then he got another staph infection.”

DeFranco admitted that whilst Gastelum had been hopeful of successfully making the weight limit despite being on a course of antibiotics, it was “unacceptable” the way that Fight Week played out.

“I hate it [and] it’s unacceptable [that] this happened… Look I’m not saying any of it was right but look D-Rod still has a job, Kelvin still has a job – it was a really big f*** up and it’s not excusable, we are where we are and that’s the situation.”

Rodriguez confirms sizable pay rise and contract after UFC Saudi Arabia

Whilst Daniel Rodriguez was understandably frustrated at both the pre-fight chaos on the scales and the result in Saudi Arabia, the fan-favorite brawler did thankfully get paid a hefty sum for his troubles.

Taking to social media, D-Rod told his fans that “I lost but won at the same time”, explaining how the controversy landed up a new six-fight deal for more money than his current contract, in addition to the 30 per cent of Gastelum’s likely hefty purse.

“I’m done complaining about the fight, f*** it, it happened. I knew the risk, with the risk came great rewards; I lost the fight, but I gained so much more in return. A ton of respect from the fight community, a nice raise, a six-fight contract and 30 per cent of his f***** [money].

“You know, I can’t even be mad. Yeah I wanted to win but I won so much more in the end. I knew the risk, I took it, put on a hell of a show, fans love me and I love y’all. My kids are proud, my family’s proud so I lost but I won.”

What do you think about what Gastelum’s coach had to say?

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