Gegard Mousasi issues first statement on 'high risk' Ilir Latifi fight: 'I have a lot to lose'

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Win, and you were supposed to. Lose, and you got beat by a nobody. Ain't life grand when you're an MMA fighter?

Mixed martial arts (MMA) fans were frustrated when Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) officials kept them in the dark over the fate of the UFC on Fuel TV 9 main event, scheduled for this Saturday (April 6, 2013) at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden.

Imagine how Gegard Mousasi must have felt.

"People don't tell me anything so a lot of stuff I find out on the Internet like normal people. I'm just glad Latifi took the fight and at least I have a fight. He's more of a wrestler, Gustafsson is more of a striker. I'm just gonna fight the same but with different tactics. I'm gonna try to finish the fight any way I can, that's what I'm gonna do from the start. It's a high-risk fight. I don't have a lot to gain. Against Gustafsson, I had number one spot maybe, a little closer to a title shot. This is a fight that I have a lot to lose."

"The Dreamcatcher" learned that his original opponent, Alexander Gustafsson, was busted open in practice (see the pic here) and was questionable for this weekend's event. Wanderlei Silva quickly stepped up to take the fight on short notice, only to later reveal he was pulling an April Fool's Day prank.

That earned him the distinction of becoming "Idiot of the Year," according to the Armenian.

Then came yesterday's announcement from the Swedish MMA Federation (read it here) that "The Mauler" was in fact medically unfit to compete, prompting UFC officials to take whatever warm body they could find. The good news is, they didn't have to look any farther than Ilir Latifi, one of Gustafsson's training partners.

Mousasi's manager (via MMAnyt.se) on the last-minute switcheroo:

"Gegard and our team are disappointed to not be able to compete against Alexander Gustafsson. However, we understand the fight business and wish Alex a speedy recovery. We want to thank Ilir for stepping up last minute to take this fight. Gegard intends to make a great show with a strong performance for all the fans. Thank you to Dana White, Joe Silva, and the rest of the Zuffa team for working so diligently on this matter. Now it is time to fight and make a great show for the fans!"

Hear more from Mousasi in this pre-fight video interview with Kimura.se:

For more on this week's FUEL TV fiasco click here.

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