GOIANIA, Brazil – When it was revealed that Antonio Rogerio Nogueira wouldn’t be facing Alexander Gustafsson – less than one week after it was announced he would – many fans wondered how a fighter could agree to a fight more than four months out only to withdraw six days later. To put it simply, he didn’t.
“What happened was that night we decided to make the fight,” UFC President Dana White explained. “Gustafsson said yes, and they couldn’t get hold of him, so I said, ‘F–k it,’ and just went with it and announced the fight, and of course, he’s hurt.”
White in October announced that Gustafsson (15-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) vs. Nogueira (21-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) would headline the UFC’s first European Tour event, which takes place March 8 at London’s O2 Arena.
It was revealed just a few days later that a lingering back issue would prevent Nogueira from taking part. Now, as it turns out, the light heavyweight never committed to the appearance.
Nogueira, a former PRIDE fighter whose UFC career has been slowed by an assortment of injuries, was hoping to fight for the first time in 13 months. He would have been in search of his third consecutive win following impressive performances against former champs Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans, which halted a two-fight skid.
While White admits he was partially to blame for the confusion, he’s certainly not giving Nogueira a free pass. Instead, the UFC boss said he doesn’t understand why the 37-year-old Brazilian, who’s fought just six times in four years as a UFC fighter, can’t stay healthy.
“The fight isn’t for four months, and he’s already determined he’s hurt,” White said. “I don’t understand that. The guy is always hurt. Every time you call him, he’s hurt.”
Gustafsson now fights Jimi Manuwa at the event.
For more on the UFC European Tour show in London, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Antonio Rogerio Nogueira)