UFC light-heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson will not be able to fight Saturday night in his scheduled bout against Gegard Mousasi, leaving the UFC without its planned main event for its return to Sweden.
The highly-ranked Swedish fighter suffered a cut in training over the weekend, and on Tuesday the Swedish Mixed Martial Arts Federation (SMMAF) said it will not be able to medically clear him for the bout, which was set to headline UFC on FUEL TV 9 in Stockholm.
The news was first reported by FUEL TV’s Ariel Helwani.
Here is an excerpt from the statement released by the SMMAF:
"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."
Gustafsson reportedly still wanted to fight but it is not up to him.
No replacement has yet been made, but according to Helwani, Mousasi’s manager said the 27-year-old, who was set to make his long-awaited UFC debut, was willing to fight someone else on short notice.
Prior to Tuesday’s news, veteran and top contender Wanderlei Silva tweeted on posted an April Fool’s Day joke on Monday that the UFC asked him to replace Gustafsson. While he added that he’d "like it to be true," there was no indication he was seriously being considered.
With the event being in Sweden and most of the fighters on the UFC’s roster based in North America, it could prove difficult to find a suitable replacement to step in with just three days before weigh-ins.
The co-main event is a lightweight bout between Ryan Couture and Ross Pearson. Neither of whom have high enough profile to normally headline an event, even if the former is the son of UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture.
The event will air on Sportsnet Saturday at 2 p.m. ET, with preliminary fights on sportsnet.ca starting at 10:50 a.m. ET.
The UFC made its debut in the Scandinavian country last April, where Gustafsson defeated Thiago Silva by decision in the main event. Silva had replaced an injured Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.