Alexander Gustafsson raised a lot of eyebrows when he officially pulled out of UFC 227 on August 4th just moments after it looked like he had a new exciting opponent in Anthony Smith to face. To a lot of people, that looked like running from a fight.
Of course, the truth is never as clear cut as a juicy bit of MMA gossip makes it look. According to solid sources, Gustafsson’s UFC 227 participation has been shaky for a week, and he was ready to fight Khalil Rountree right up until doctors refused to clear him for the card. It was just bad timing that made him look like a fake-injury-pulling jerkface to the not very understanding MMA community.
Don’t feel too bad if you were a part of this Gustafsson backlash. After all, he never seems to fight, and is always talking like he deserves a title shot. Plus there are respectable people like Daniel Cormier who are also happy to throw Gus under the bus after this latest card removal. Check this fire out:
@AlexTheMauler pic.twitter.com/yVcYZH11G0— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) July 23, 2018
”Dear Alex, I don’t know what happened to you going back to the Rockhold situation,” Cormier wrote on Twitter. “You have always been a stand up guy but your behavior changed. From calling a guy out the day after he got knocked out, to now offering to fight me knowing I have a broken hand after Volkan couldn’t go. Now you’ve turned down Jan, turned down Khalil, all while calling for a heavyweight title fight. Now moments after Anthony Smith does his work like an animal you decide you’re hurt.”
”Man, I respect you as a fighter. I will always be grateful for October 2015, buy you and I won’t share the octagon again. I am disappointed in who you’ve become. You are so entitled, man, I can’t deal with delusional people. Good luck recovering. Our time has passed. See you from the commentary table.”
Cormier has famously stated that he’s retiring after his 40th birthday on March 20th, giving him time for one, maybe two, fights. He’d floated the idea of facing Gustafsson again, but it sounds like that idea is no longer interesting to him following this latest withdrawal from Gustafsson.
As we said, reports indicate Alex was willing to fight Rountree and was taken off UFC 227 by doctors. But those facts aren’t likely to help Gustafsson’s reputation amongst the fans, and that’s what sells pay-per-views / is what Cormier cares about right now.