The question of this week has been will Alexander Gustafsson would be allowed to fight Gegard Mousasi on Saturday after he sustained a cut in training. We don't have to wonder any longer. As was first reported by MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani, the Swedish MMA Federation announced that Gustafsson will not be cleared to fight at UFC on Fuel 9 on Saturday.
Here's what they had to say:
The SMMAF Medical Committee has today reviewed the circumstances regarding Gustafsson and his injury. The SMMAF Medical Committee recognizes that a competitor cannot be medically cleared earlier than the day before the match. However, bearing in mind that a correct medical examination that met the regulatory demands has been performed, nothing in the SMMAF regulations hinders the SMMAF Medical Committee from making a decision to stop Gustafsson from competing. As it is clear that Alexander Gustafsson will not be fit to compete as planned and cannot be medically cleared on Friday the 5th of April, the SMMAF Medical Committee has today decided that Alexander Gustafsson will not be allowed to participate in the planned match on April 6th.
Basically, the commission's medical committee looked at his cut today and decided it wouldn't be miraculously healed by Saturday. The cut is reportedly under his left eyebrow. If it were to break open during the bout, which is a likely occurrence in a fight, the bout would be in danger. Cuts on the eyebrow bleed into fighters' eyes and impair their vision. It's the right move by the commission.
But it being the right move doesn't make it any easier on Gustafsson or the UFC. For Gustafsson, his fight with Mousasi was supposed to be a stepping stone to a title shot. And the UFC now doesn't have Sweden's most popular fighter fighting on a card in Stockholm. They can try to cobble together a main event on four days notice in Europe, but it won't be easy to get a fighter is healthy, who can make weight and get to Sweden on such short notice.
UPDATE: UFC president Dana White tweeted that they did find a new opponent for Mousasi. He will face Swedish fighter Ilir Latifi, a teammate of Gustafsson's who is 7-2 and is riding a three fight win streak. This will be Latifi's UFC debut, and the fight will remain in the main event spot. However, it will go three rounds, not five as the Gustafsson-Mousasi bout was scheduled for.
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