Dana White isn’t quite ready to move on from the Swedish MMA Federation screwing up his main event. Even after the event was over, he had some choice words for the commission:
“The commission did a horrible job with this fight,” said White. “Gegard Mousasi, his knee was injured coming into this fight. He checked with his own personal doctor and his doctor said, ‘You can make it through this fight but you’re going to need surgery after this fight.” Thank god he didn’t see the doctors here, you know what I mean?”
“He fought with a knee that kept popping out because he wanted that shot at Gustafsson – he wanted the #3 ranked guy in the world,” he continued, praising Mousasi for his gutsy showing. “He still takes the fight, goes out, performs, and wins. That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day.”
“I don’t want to smash this commission here but the reality is they’re very inexperienced. Not only are they inexperienced, the doctor is inexperienced in fights. This isn’t Las Vegas or New Jersey or California where tons of fights happen all the time,” White explained. “They did a great job the first time we came in here, so hopefully they’ll get back on the wagon.”
So the doctors who pulled a fighter because of a cut above the eye suck but thank God for the doctor who lets his guy fight on one leg! Meanwhile, most commissions would just shrug at any and all complaints and move on as if nothing had happened. But in Sweden, accountability apparently means something so there will be an investigation:
The Swedish MMA federation’s medical committee had chosen at midnight last Tuesday to inform Gustafsson – a light heavyweight title contender in the mixed martial arts organization and a sports star in Sweden – that he was ineligible to fight because of concerns about a gash in his left eyelid, sustained in training a week earlier, which had required four stitches.
Normal practice would have been to wait until the medical checks three days later, after the weigh-ins, on the Friday.
Yet what exacerbated the situation was that by Wednesday last week, Gustafsson had had the four stitches removed, the cut had closed up, and he was ready to fight.
It certainly appears that there was an intransigence from the federation’s medical commission, which I’ve been told is made up of “a panel of around seven persons”.
George Sallfeldt, president of the Swedish MMA federation, told Telegraph Sport after the event: “We will be looking into the situation that happened, and the way it happened. We’ll be asking the medical committee how they arrived at their decision [on the Tuesday night] and why it was made when it was.”
But he added: “It someone contacts the federation it is difficult to do anything different to what happened. But I have to say that this situation has never happened before.”
Sallfeldt had consistently defended his panel’s decision last week, falling back on an insistence that combat sports in Sweden are governed by law, and that he was powerless to overrule it.
When the SMMAF pulled Gustafsson, they used some interesting language in their press release to justify not waiting until the standard medical examination a day before the event. That is likely to be a big part of the investigation – did the commission overstep it’s authority by making a decision prematurely? I doubt the end result would have been different if they had waited. Sure, the cut had ‘closed up’ and was solid enough for Alex to wiggle his eyebrows around without blood seeping out. But how would it hold up to a doctor grabbing it with his thumb and forefinger and giving it a little test tug?