The long saga surrounding Alexander Gustafsson's status for this weekend's UFC on Fuel 9 card has finally been determined by the Swedish MMA Federation, and it appears Gegard Mousasi will have a new opponent for Saturday night.
Doctors have decided against clearing Gustafsson for action on Saturday's card after the Swedish-born fighter suffered a cut over his eye just days away from his scheduled bout.
According to a press release emailed to Bleacher Report on Tuesday, the Swedish MMA Federation doctors first checked out Gustafsson's condition on March 30, but at the time had no recourse to decide if he would be able to fight or not.
"According to SMMAF regulations the competitors in a match shall be examined by the certified appointed match doctor prior to the match," read the release. "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 30th (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 news of Gustafsson's pending removal from the upcoming fight card first surfaced on Sunday, when reports out of Sweden began leaking that he had suffered a cut in training and his status for Saturday's fight card was in jeopardy.
Since that time, UFC officials including president Dana White have gone on the record on numerous occasions stating that the fight between Gustafsson and Mousasi was going ahead as planned.
Still, rumors persisted that Gustafsson might not gain clearance in time to fight on Saturday, and the doctors in Sweden decided to follow up with a second check on Tuesday and made the final call that he would not be allowed to compete this weekend.
"The SMMAF Medical Committee has today reviewed the circumstances regarding Gustafsson and his injury," the commission stated via press release. "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."
The unfortunate side of this news is the fact that Gustafsson's exit from the card happens just four days away from the event, and the options have to be limited for what the UFC can do to even possibly replace him by fight night.
His opponent Gegard Mousasi is already in Sweden and obviously awaits word like the rest of the world on what happens next. UFC officials have yet to make any statement about the UFC on Fuel 9 main event.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.
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