No one was very happy to hear the news that UFC 176 was canceled following an injury to featherweight champion Jose Aldo that eventually led to the entire event being scrapped and the fights from the remainder of the card scattered to other shows later in the year.
Like anything in the sport these days, no information stays secret for long so within minutes of the UFC informing the fighters and managers of what was happening to the event, news started springing up that UFC 176 was no longer happening.
In an unfortunate bit of timing, UFC 176 co-main event fighter Gegard Mousasi awoke from his slumber and saw the news that his fight along with the rest of the card was canceled. It didn’t take long for the former Strikeforce champion to react, which he did on Facebook by saying that it was ‘nice to hear your fight is canceled through social media, good job UFC’. Of course his post went viral in a matter of minutes and in hindsight, Mousasi is more angry at himself for reacting the way he did before knowing the timeline of how everything happened.
"Basically my manager knew it so there was some miscommunication. I woke up and at that time I saw it on Facebook actually, and my manager knew it and he would have told me but with the time difference (in Holland) so I made a mistake there a little bit," Mousasi told FOX Sports.
At first reaction, you’re emotional, you’re going to react to it. It’s better to control your emotions, but we’re human beings but s–t happens and I got angry
— Gegard Mousasi
"First reaction, you’re going to be mad. We are human beings. The first time you hear your fight is canceled, you’re going to be angry but now I’m okay with it. At first reaction, you’re emotional, you’re going to react to it. It’s better to control your emotions, but we’re human beings but s–t happens and I got angry."
Part of the outburst came from the work Mousasi has been putting in to get ready for his fight against Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza because the winner could be in a prime position to challenge for the UFC middleweight title at some point in the next six months. Mousasi’s ire also came from a trio of consecutive fight camps, and like most fighters he was dealing with the usual litany of bumps and bruises that occur and frustration just took over when the show was scrapped.
Beyond the logistics of training for the fight there’s also teammates, coaches, travel, and other expenditures that are set up for a specific date and location and when that changes, it affects the fighter and their camp.
"My situation was a little different. I was coming off of two training camps in a row and this was the third one in a row and I had some injuries, I was dieting and training with the injuries. It was too much in a row," Mousasi stated. "It was difficult because I was coming off three training camps and now it’s rescheduled so I have to keep the motivation to keep going. I had fighters I had brought in from Poland for my training camp, just a lot of work and energy. Now I have to take some time off to rest and rebuild again.
"It’s just a lot of wasted time and energy, what can I say. It’s not just the training it’s so many other things that go along with it. It’s not in my hands, I’m training for the fight. I’m getting ready to do my part. I understand the UFC’s situation, it was difficult, I understand that. It was just a disappointment."
If there is a silver lining to this situation it’s the fact that Mousasi’s fight moved from being the co-main event to the main event of the upcoming UFC Fight Night card in Connecticut. To this point in his brief UFC career, Mousasi has been in the main event for every one of his fights so this will keep that streak going.
More importantly, this gives Mousasi five rounds to find a way to beat Jacare and he loves that part.
"I’m happy about the main event, that’s a plus. This is the fourth main event so I’m thankful to the UFC that they have their trust in me. I can’t really complain. I will have the advantage against Jacare going five rounds. It’s a good thing for me," Mousasi said.
"If I win this one, I’m definitely going to be a contender."