STOCKHOLM – Before he ultimately got paired up with little-known Ilir Latifi (7-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC), Gegard Mousasi (33-3-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) believed he had two possible replacements for injured opponent Alexander Gustafsson: Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva.
Of course, with little information coming in about Saturday’s UFC on FUEL TV 9 headliner, he was getting most of his updates from social media.
And, as Mousasi today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), “Social media sucks.”
Like everyone else, Mousasi, who headlines Saturday’s FUEL TV-televised event at Stockholm’s Ericsson Globe Arena, read all kinds of crazy possibilities. The fact that most of the chatter took place on April Fools’ Day only made matters worse.
“There was disappointment,” said Mousasi when talking about the initial reports of Gustafsson’s facial cut. “No one left me anything. I had to find out through my manager and through the Internet. It wasn’t a pleasant week.”
So he flew to Sweden unsure of whom he’d be fighting, or even if he’d be fighting at all. UFC officials remains tight-lipped, Gustafsson was campaigning to stay on the card, and then Twitter and Facebook lit up. At first, though, he felt he might get a high-profile replacement and a former UFC champion as a replacement.
“Vitor Belfort stepped up, and there were talks with my manager, and he wanted to take the fight on short notice,” said Mousasi, who isn’t sure what ultimately happened with the possibility. “So we would have gladly accepted that fight.”
Of course, the following situation with Silva irked him more than others. The fan favorite took to Twitter and announced the UFC had contacted him about filling in, and Silva even did subsequent interviews confirming he had taken the fight and that it wasn’t an April Fools’ Day joke.
Except that, you know, it was.
“Wanderlei (Silva) was saying he wanted the fight, and we said yes,” said Mousasi, who later learned it was a joke. “If I had done it to him, he wouldn’t have appreciated it either. I’m in a situation where no one is informing me of anything, and this idiot is saying it for three days as an April Fools’ joke. It’s not funny. But what I can I do?”
Mousasi said he has no desire to fight Silva. If the UFC wants to make the fight, he’ll do it. But despite his annoyance, he sees no reason for it. Instead, he wants to win on Saturday and then get paired up with Gustafsson or fellow top contender Lyoto Machida after a planned vacation.
Obviously, though, Latifi is up first. Mousasi is a heavy favorite, and it’s admittedly a big reason he wasn’t all that excited about the matchup when they first pitched it to him.
“Latifi asked for the fight on social media and in Sweden, so eventually, he was the only guy we were able to fight,” he said. “At first there was a little of hesitation because it’s a risky fight. I’ve got nothing to win but a lot to lose, but hey, at least I’m fighting.”
For more on UFC on FUEL TV 9, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.