Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Alexander Gustafsson said unfit
By Franklin McNeil and Josh Gross ESPN.com
The Swedish Mixed Martial Arts Federation has determined that UFC light heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson is medically unfit to fight Saturday against Gegard Mousasi.
SMMAF, which had until Friday to make its ruling official, opted instead to reveal its decision Tuesday in a statement.
UFC president Dana White announced on Twitter later Tuesday that Gustafsson's training partner, 29-year-old Swede Ilir "The Sledgehammer" Latifi, had agreed to fight Mousasi. Latifi (7-2) went 3-0 last year after losing by decision to Emanuel Newton in 2011. The bout will be Latifi's first in the UFC.
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Gustafsson's ability to compete came into question Sunday after it was learned that he had suffered a cut above an eye during a training session.
He was slated to fight Mousasi, the former Strikeforce 205-pound champion, in the main event at UFC on Fuel TV 9 in Stockholm.
"According to SMMAF regulations the competitors in a match shall be examined by the certified appointed match doctor prior to the match," the SMMAF said in its statement. "The examination is always carried out the day before the match, this is to safeguard that a competitor shall never be cleared for a match earlier than the day before the match.
"In the case of Alexander Gustafsson there was a request for an early indicative medical examination which was immediately performed on March 30 (Easter Eve). The federation doctors that performed the examination informed Gustafsson that his injury was of such a nature that it was very unlikely that he would be medically cleared for a match in the near future. These doctors did not have a mandate to stop the match at the time of that examination.
"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 [April 5], the SMMAF Medical Committee has today decided that Alexander Gustafsson will not be allowed to participate in the planned match on April 6."
Gustafsson (15-1), who is ranked No. 3 among light heavyweights by ESPN.com, is currently on a six-fight win streak.
Mousasi (33-3-2) was to make his UFC debut against Gustafsson. During his most recent outing, on Jan. 12, Mousasi submitted veteran Mike Kyle in the first round.