The UFC on Fuel TV 9 fight card was hit with horrible news over the weekend when Swedish news outlets reported that main eventer and home country favorite Alexander Gustafsson suffered a severe cut in his final sparring session, putting his headlining bout with Gegard Mousasi in jeopardy.
UFC president Dana White, however, insists that the fight has not been cancelled… at least not yet.
Swedish MMA Federation president George Sallfeldt on Sunday told MMANYTT.se that three doctors, one in person and two examining photos, have determined that the cut Gustafsson suffered will take weeks to heal.
Sallfeldt added that, even if the cut were to heal by Friday, letting someone go into a fight “with heavy scar tissue would not be an option.”
“It is very difficult to see that this will be medically approved on Friday,” Sallfeldt commented, adding that Gustafsson wanted to go ahead with the fight, but “this is a medical decision and not up to Alexander himself.”
White on Sunday night, however, told MMAFighting.com via text message that “the (Swedish Mixed Martial Arts Federation) has not said he can't fight, and he wants to fight,” leaving the door cracked open, if ever so slightly, for the fight to happen.
To be clear, Sallfeldt never came out and stated that Alexander Gustafsson would absolutely be denied medical clearance, but his comments obviously lead to the conclusion that due to the nature of the cut it would be nearly impossible to medically approve Gustafsson's participation.
The UFC is in a difficult situation if Gustafsson is unable to fight. There are no other bouts on the UFC on Fuel TV 9 fight card that would typically be considered a UFC headlining bout, and there is little time to line up a worthy replacement for Gustafsson.
Still, it would be difficult following Sallfeldt’s comments to see the SMMAF approving Gustafsson for the fight, and if they did so contrary to their own requested medical assessments, what would that say about the Federation’s credibility as a sanctioning body?
MMAWeekly.com on Monday made a follow-up request for more information on Gustafsson’s status, but there was no update as of the time of publication.
Mousasi’s camp told MMAWeekly.com that, as of Monday morning, Mousasi and his team are still flying to Sweden expecting to fight, and have not been told that the fight is off or that any change of opponent has been made.