ericsson-globe-arena.jpgSTOCKHOLM – UFC fans hoping to see Swedish contender Alexander Gustafsson (15-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) face Gegard Mousasi (33-3-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) at this weekend’s UFC on FUEL TV 9 event were no doubt disappointed when “The Mauler” was forced to withdraw from the card. But UFC exec Garry Cook believes the fight will still happen.

“I think we’ll still see it at some point, and I don’t think anybody doesn’t want to see it,” Cook told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).

Gustafsson, of course, was pulled from the fight by the Swedish MMA Federation after suffering a cut over his eye in training and being ruled medically ineligible to compete. Gustafsson’s training partner Ilir Natifi (7-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) now fights in the evening’s main event, much to the dismay of many Swedish MMA fans.

Cook understands the disappointment but believes some observers are failing to give Mousasi his due credit for remaining on the card and facing a relatively unknown opponent on just a few days’ notice.

“The interesting thing about Mousasi, he said, ‘I want to fight,’” Cook explained. “That’s the athlete – passion for giving the fans what he wants to give them. Listening to (UFC President) Dana White talk to him and say, ‘Do you want to go through with this?’ And he answered, ‘I want to fight.’ All the puzzle comes together, and he goes, ‘Put me in with Latifi.’”

UFC on FUEL TV 9 takes place Saturday at Stockholm’s Ericsso Globe Arena. It’s the promotion’s second visit to the country of Sweden. The first was a resounding success for the promotion that featured a rabid crowd selling out the venue to cheer on Gustafsson in a three-round victory over established veteran Thiago Silva. This time around, there seems to be a bit of fan backlash over Gustafsson’s removal from the card, but Cook believes the market is still a key player in the company’s European plans, and he hopes to have an established schedule on the continent that includes an annual visit to Sweden.

“One of the things I want to get to is mapping out three years of events so at least everybody knows when it’s coming and actually push the emphasis back to Dana and Joe Silva and say, ‘There are the dates. Now put the card together,’” Cook explained. “What we’ve tended to do in the past was perhaps build a card and say, ‘Alright, where can we put it?’

“I’m a great believer in plans and planning. As I say to (UFC co-owner) Lorenzo Fertitta, ‘I’ll build a plan, and if it doesn’t work, at least I had a plan.’ So I think we’ll be coming back to Sweden within the next 12-18 months.”

And if all goes according to plan, it won’t just be Sweden that received the benefit of annual visits. Cook hopes to build a consistent calendar of events on the continent so fans can know when to expect the UFC to visit, similar to the way Las Vegas fight fans can count on cards built around Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve.

“You’re going to start to see us reappear regularly at the same place at the same time, and I think that’s important for the fans,” Cook said. “The consistency, knowing when it’s coming, and then building an experience around it for them so it’s not just a ticket and a fight – they’ve actually got some interaction with the whole sport. They can meet and greet the fighters. They can engage with gaming. They can engage with seminars and stories about nutrition and health and fitness, and I think that’s important.

“Fans need to understand the sport more – the broader audience needs to understand the sport more – in order for it to continue to grow. So I think that regular appearances in major cities are important.”

For more on UFC on FUEL TV 9, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Joe Silva's Shoes: What's next for Gegard Mousasi and UFC Fight Night 99's other winning fighters?

  • 13 days ago
  • 65 views

After every event, fans wonder whom the winners will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Joe Silva and Se read news >>

Katie Taylor and the Future of Women’s Boxing | FIGHTLAND

  • 2 days ago
  • 2 views

Photo by Dennis M. Sabangan/EPA Last weekend boxing fans witnessed another astounding performance from rising Ukrainian star Vasly Lomachenko as he dismantled the formidable Nicholas Walters over sev read news >>

One to Watch: Gray Maynard vs. Ryan Hall | FIGHTLAND

  • 2 days ago
  • 4 views

Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC Another weekend, another UFC event. This Saturday sees The Ultimate Fighter: Tournament of Champions, the 24th iteration of the TV show, come to a head in its finale read news >>

Korean Zombie Returns to Headline UFC Super Bowl Weekend Event | MMAWeekly.com

  • a day ago
  • 2 views

Following his mandatory military service, the Korean Zombie is returning to the Octagon to headline UFC Fight Night 104 on Super Bowl Weekend. read news >>

The Korean Zombie headlines UFC return to Houston

  • 2 days ago
  • 1 views

The UFC’s Super Bowl weekend event in Houston on Feb. 4 will be an explosive one, with the return of a featherweight superstar highlighting the card at Toyota Center. read news >>

TUF 24 Finale results: Jorge Masvidal gets odd TKO after Jake Ellenberger's foot caught in fence

  • a day ago
  • 7 views

LAS VEGAS – UFC fans are now a little closer to having seen every type of stoppage in the octagon. Filed under: Featured, News, UFC read news >>

TUF 24 Finale draws announced 2,044 fans for $188,602 live gate in Las Vegas

  • a day ago
  • 1 views

LAS VEGAS – Saturday’s UFC event, The Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale, drew an announced attendance of 2,044 for a live gate of $188,602.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

HOT TWEETS: Demetrious Johnson Wins Fights, Tim Elliot Wins Fans | MMAWeekly.com

  • a day ago
  • 22 views

Demetrious Johnson won the fight, but Tim Elliot won all the respect at The Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale. read news >>

Hammerlocks and Stockades: A Weekend Retrospective | FIGHTLAND

  • 13 days ago
  • 3 views

Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC Another weekend, another twelve hours of fight film to study. The UFC hosted two cards, Bellator held an event, and Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev fought one of the m read news >>

The UFC's weekend in a nutshell: 1 day, 2 unnecessary rematches, 12 hours of continuous air time

  • 13 days ago
  • 18 views

The UFC churned out an awful lot of combat sports content over the weekend, featuring fighters of all experience levels. And yet it ended with a rematch that was as sad as it was totally unnecessary, read news >>