According to this report, top Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson only needed three stitches to close the cut above his eye.
That's the kind of damage you can sustain when you tumble head first into the cage. "The Mauler" was doing drills for his upcoming fight against Gegard Mousasi at the UFC on FUEL TV 9 event this Saturday (April 6, 2013) at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, when disaster struck.
Gustafsson releases his official statement (via MMAnyt.se):
During Thursday's (March 28) passes as we ran wrestling exercises I lost my balance and pitched eyebrow in a very unfortunate way when I hit my head on one burpelaren. Immediately after it happened, I went to the hospital and sewed three stitches. I was quite prepared to compete until the doctors called and told me that cut is unfortunate and will not have time to heal in time until the gala.
It is of course extremely sad when träningscampet has gone very well. In addition to the eyebrow, I am in my best form and completely ready for the match. It is also sad for my opponent, Gegard Mousasi, who has also been training long and hard for this match.
I and my team have done everything we can to get set up and race despite the injury, but the decision is unfortunately not in our hands. I am extremely sorry for this and I feel with Gegard Mousasi. I also suffer with the fans who have been looking forward to this event and this match. Would also like to thank my entire team who have helped and supported me all the way. The next step now is that I sit down with the team and planning the future.
As we reported back on Monday, Gustafsson's fight against Mousasi was "100-percent off." However, UFC officials opted to roll the dice to try to push "The Mauler" -- who by his own admission did not want to back out -- through a second round of medical examinations.
Their gamble did not pay off.
The boys at the Swedish MMA Federation would not permit the towering Swede to compete after the follow-up physical deemed his cut too severe to participate in this weekend's combat sports extravaganza (read their official statement here). Logistically (and Brazilian jokes notwithstanding), the promotion was unable to find a "name" replacement in time for this weekend.
Instead, they asked one of Gustafsson's training partners, Ilir Latifi, to make hay while the sun shines (more on that here).
Dark cloud, meet silver lining.