The main event was supposed to feature a middleweight title fight between Australian Robert Whittaker and his challenger Kelvin Gastelum. However, Whittaker was forced to withdraw as he underwent emergency surgery to repair a hernia injury and the fight was scrapped.
Gastelum was in attendance for the event and was pictured with a new UFC belt draped over his shoulder, which was later revealed to belong to flyweight champ Henry Cejudo who had traveled to Melbourne as well.
This drew criticism from McGregor, who blasted Gastelum on Twitter for even being cleared to compete in light of the visible rash on his face and neck during fight week.
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.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) February 10, 2019
Someone sort this, this instant. And sterilize that belt.
"Why is that worm holding the 185lb belt?" McGregor wrote. "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. Immediately."
Gastelum admitted to battling a staph infection in the lead up to the fight, but the would-be title challenger had a number of red marks under his lip, which many observers speculated was ringworm, which is highly contagious.
Gastelum responded to McGregor’s tweet, challenging the Irishman to "come take it off," though whether he meant the belt or the rash was not immediately clear.
Come take it off....— #OnAmission4Gold (@KelvinGastelum) February 10, 2019
Little prick! https://t.co/823ptmymr8