Leading up to UFC 234 in Melbourne, Australia, it was pretty much impossible to look at middleweight title challenger Kelvin Gastelum without noticing something freaky going on. The guy had stuff growing on his face and neck, which other fighters correctly guessed was a staph infection.
These days, minor MRSA outbreaks don’t seem to be enough to shut down a big main event, but the potential issue became moot when Kelvin’s opponent Robert Whittaker’s bowel collapsed, killing their fight (but potentially saving Whittaker’s life).
But not before Gastelum took a whole bunch of abuse on social media, including some at the hands of Conor McGregor.
Why is that worm holding the 185lb belt? There are worms crawling on his skin! It was absolutely ludicrous to even consider allowing him to compete. Let alone now walk around the arena shaking our fans hands.
Someone sort this, this instant. And sterilize that belt.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) February 10, 2019
Gastelum was on ESPN’s Ariel Helwani Show and went into detail on the staph situation.
”I was fighting this staph infection on my face, on my body, the entire week,” he said. “I was on antibiotics the entire week fighting this thing. The UFC doctors were gracious and handling it well and they were real happy with how the infection on my skin was going away and how it’d be okay to fight. The commission was okay with letting me fight. Everything was on track, man. It was just devastating. To go through all that process, to go through all that work and not be able to fight and compete … man, it was horrible.”
As far as the staph potentially derailing his chances to compete?
“No, as soon as the UFC doctors got there the week of the fight, they started handling it,” Gastelum said. “They gave me antibiotics, they put me on medication. They gave me creams so that I can put some on. Immediately they were very happy with the results. The very next day the rash had significantly shrunk and had dried up and it was going away. So there was no way that I wasn’t going to be competing just because of this infection. I was gonna go in there and fight this thing and go ahead and fight this fight. The doctors were letting me fight, they were saying it was going to be okay.”
And as for Conor McGregor’s comments?
”Oh my God, you want to talk about a leper?” Gastelum asked. “A guy that’s full of disease that’s spreading disease all over Ireland? That’s Conor McGregor. He’s spreading his seed all over Ireland, impregnating ladies and not claiming them. That dude’s a leper. Forget him.”
Gastelum is of course bringing up the current tabloid fodder that McGregor has a love child. Of course, who knows what the truth is. We just know a good counter-burn when we see it. Maybe Kelvin will lend Conor some cream.