With Alexander Gustafsson temporarily removed from the UFC light-heavyweight title picture — and understandably upset about it — Gustafsson’s manager Manos Terzitane appeared on UFC Tonight on Wednesday, and claimed that “The Mauler” won’t accept any other match than a title fight. That means Gustafsson would voluntarily sit out until at least spring 2015, and that’s only if things go perfectly according to plan. What if Jones vs. Cormier ends in an incredibly close decision or a controversial finish, and the UFC decides to book an immediate rematch? What if the winner of the fight sustains an injury and is sidelined for months?
Nothing is guaranteed in this sport, and holding out for a title shot goes badly more often than it goes well. But in his infinite grace, UFC president Dana White has suggested an alternate path for Gustafsson:
“Gustafsson will probably fight again. We’ll probably do another fight for him,” White said. “He’ll probably fight again to stay active, stay top of mind and the guy has to make money.”
Next up for Gustafsson could be the dangerous rising 205-pound star Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. White confirmed that Gustafsson vs. Johnson would probably be the fight that would make the most sense.
You have to admit, that’s a badass fight, although it’s certainly a dangerous one if Gustafsson hopes to keep his spot in line. Ultimately, it’s up to the Mauler to decide if he wants to roll the dice on everything falling into place, while going without a paycheck for over a year. Tough call.
“As soon as Jones went up and their bodies touched, I would have separated them,” White said. “Sometimes you’ll see me put a hand in, or sometimes you’ll see me do something else. I would have separated them. It was the head butt, Jones headbutted Cormier – that’s what upset [Daniel] and made him push him back. I would have got my arm in there before that contact was even made. I would have seen the contact coming and I would have stopped it. Then I would have been right in the middle. Would I have stopped that whole thing from going down, who the fuck knows? I wasn’t here…
“[UFC Sr. Director of Public Relations] Dave Sholler doesn’t really have any experience out there between the guys,” White said. “There’s times when you know something is going on and you’re ready and you jump in there and get that thing defused. That’s why I stand there. I don’t stand there because I want to be in fucking pictures, I’m there to make sure that kind of shit doesn’t happen. You got two guys, who are going to fight, and there is definitely a ton of mind warfare going on between [Cormier and Jones], no doubt about it…
“The position that I get to stand in during those staredowns is the greatest position in all of f**king sports,” White said. “Nothing like being there when two guys are cutting weight, they’re fighting the next day, they’re away from their families for eight f**king weeks, and they get to square off…
“One little thing can trigger two guys, who are the baddest dudes on the planet, who are face to face,” White said of Jones and Cormier. “That’s what they do, period. People can try to sugar coat it or try to spin any way that they want, that’s the reality. That’s who they are, that’s what they’re paid to do and that’s what you show up to watch. These guys, that’s who they are to the core. And when you get two guys like that and you don’t handle the situation the right way to defuse it, that’s what happens. The difference is that Sholler has never been in that position before.”
Indeed, the situation wouldn’t have been nearly as chaotic if Dana was there, because there’s no way Jon Jones would have had the audacity to shove Dana White off a stage, even in the heat of passion. But that other guy, who looks like a broke-ass Jon Anik? Yeah, he’s gonna go for a little ride.