The UFC on Fuel TV 9 main event took a major hit when the Swedish MMA Federation wouldn’t allow Alexander Gustafsson to fight due to a cut above his eye that he suffered in training. Little did any of us know, however, that the entire main event came perilously close to being scrapped.
Gegard Mousasi – who was originally slated to face Gustafsson, but ended up fighting his training partner, Ilir Latifi – mentioned offhandedly in his post-fight comments that he was injured coming into Saturday’s bout in Stockholm.
UFC president Dana White at the post-fight press conference didn’t detail the injury, but revealed that it was severe enough to require surgery.
“Mousasi, he had knee problems all through his camp,” said White, before adding, “He checked with his doctor, and his doctor said you can make it through this fight and then you’re gonna have to have surgery after the fight.”
Mousasi immediately received waves of criticism for his approach to the fight, which consisted of fighting a technical stand-up game, keeping his distance from Latifi and not allowing the Swedish national wrestling champion to close the distance and take him to the mat.
White, who rarely shies away from criticizing a fighter for lack of engagement, had nothing but praise for Mousasi, especially considering the circumstances.
“Kid wants to fight cuz he’s gonna come here and fight the No. 3 ranked light heavyweight in the world,” explained White. “(Mousasi) doesn’t want to give up this opportunity; he wants to fight (Gustafsson). Shows up here to fight him; gets stopped on a cut.
“He’s training for this tall striker, ends up fighting a short, strong, southpaw wrestler, and still accepts the fight and takes it. So, again, much respect to the guys in the main event.”
Mousasi refrained from giving any details or a timetable for recovery from his injury, but did wear his decision to stay in the fight as a badge of honor.
“I don’t want to talk a lot about my injury, but I can tell, from this injury, 95-percent (of other fighters) wouldn’t fight. I stepped up; I didn’t cancel the show. I don’t want to say anything yet, but it’s nothing small.”
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