If Alexander Gustafsson's laceration had occurred on Saturday night, he may have been able to fight through it. We'll never know for sure, because its terrible timing ripped him out of his UFC on FUEL 9 main event bout after the Swedish MMA Federation examined it and ruled it would not be healed in time for the competition.
A dejected Gustafsson has been replaced by his teammate, the little-known Ilir Latifi, but he still took part in the first day of fight week, discussing the pain of being ruled out of the bout with Gegard Mousasi.
"It's been terrible. It's been the worst time in my life so far in my career, I can tell you that," he told Fighters Only Magazine in an interview. "I lost once in my career, but this is even worse. This has been a circus, a roller-coaster. But it is what it is. I feel for Gegard, I feel for the fans, and that's the worst part."
Gustafsson explained that he bumped his head into a cage post while wrestling, and figured he would get it stitched up without any issue. But, he noted, since MMA is still fairly new in Sweden, its regulators are fairly sensitive in regards to fighter safety.
Despite the fact that the still-healing laceration, which is on his left eyelid, could have split open from a blow and compromised his vision, Gustafsson said that he was willing to accept the perilousness of the situation after completing the best fight preparation of his career.
"With this cut, I would take the risk every day of the week to fight, no matter what," he said. "I had the best camp ever. I've been training my ass off. I would go up there. Even if people advised me to do it or whatever, I would still fight. That's who I am."
Instead, he'll await his next assignment. Doctors have told him that about three weeks would be needed to heal the cut, and he said that he would speak to his management team on Monday to discuss what he hopes will be a quick turnaround.
"Whenever, whoever, as long as it takes me to the championship," he said.