Gastelum (17-8) was forced to withdraw from a bout against Dricus du Plessis (16-2) scheduled next weekend in Jacksonville, Florida, per UFC officials. Additional sources told ESPN that du Plessis, of South Africa, is not expected to remain on the pay-per-view event and will be booked to a later date.
It's an unfortunate end to a winding saga for both Gastelum and du Plessis. Gastelum was originally scheduled to face Nassourdine Imavov at UFC 273, but the Russian-French middleweight was pulled from the event due to complications with his visa.
Du Plessis was also scheduled to fight at UFC 273, originally against Chris Curtis. Curtis withdrew and the UFC replaced him with Anthony Hernandez. Then, when Gastelum lost his opponent, the UFC broke up the Du Plessis-Hernandez fight in favor of Du Plessis facing Gastelum.
Now, neither middleweight will appear on the card.
Gastelum is mired in a 1-5 skid in his last six fights. He has faced top competition during that time and remains the UFC's No. 10-ranked middleweight. Du Plessis is a rising contender, with a 2-0 record in the UFC.