Whittaker responds to charge that he isn't media friendly
Earlier this month UFC president Dana White was in Sydney Australia to attend the GQ Magazine Man of the Year awards. UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker was nominated for Athlete of the Year.
In an interview with Nick Walshaw for The Daily Telegraph, White expressed surprise that Whittaker was not more popular in his home nation, and suggested wth uncharacteristic gentleness, that Whittaker might benefit from being more media friendly.
“Seems ridiculous, that we’re still talking about Rob becoming mainstream in his own country,” said White. “But from what I hear from my people here, Rob doesn’t love doing PR. But while you may not always remember what he says, you never forget the way he fights. Personally, I love his style. He says, 'you’re not going to take me down ... and I’m going to knock you out.' If you look at fighters from the past, they’re the most popular guys. Obviously, you have those fighters with the incredible talent — like an Anderson Silva — guys that just have a style of beautiful violence, but people also love those guys who stuff the takedowns and knock people out, like Chuck Liddell.”
Whittaker spoke with Submission Radio and argued against the characterization of being media shy.
“I think that media comment was miscommunication,” said Whittaker. “Someone told Dana White that I don’t do PR or I’m not easy to work with and that’s bulls***. I’ve done every PR and every media event they’ve put up to me. The big thing is, though, they get the s***s when I say, ‘Sorry, I can’t make it, I have training at this time.’ What do you want me to do? Do you want me to fight or do you want me to do this? Work around me a little bit. It was just a miscommunication and that’s all.”
“I do all sorts of media stuff. I’ve never said no or turned down a media event unless it clashes hard with a session I cannot miss. So, it’s part of the job. I think it’s just gotta be a healthy balance.”
“There’s a fine line. I don’t know anything about running the company of UFC. That’s not my specialty. All I do know is that I need to train in order to win fights. UFC want me to win fights. So if you want me to do PR, let’s work together, let’s work around it. Try to fit in around my times, please.”
Whittaker, 27, is in training to defend his title vs. Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of UFC 234 on Feb. 10 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. And the 2018 GQ Australia Sportsman of the Year winner was ... Robert Whittaker.