The UFC’s long awaited return to Boston might be in jeopardy – despite the fact tickets for the August 17 show went on sale this morning.
According to BostonHerald.com, state officials are refusing the UFC’s request to bypass rules barring foreign-born fighters from competing in Beantown without Social Security numbers.
“This law has been in existence since we legalized mixed martial arts in the commonwealth of Massachusetts,” said Terrell Harris, spokesman for Boston’s Department of Public Safety.
“It’s been brought to the attention of the UFC more than a few times since we legalized the fighting here. But they’ve chosen basically to ignore the law and hope that they could skirt it somehow.”
Harris added that under federal Social Security Administration rules, a foreign-born fighter can obtain a temporary SS# following a 10-day grace period. Although, it’s up to the UFC and its athletes “to do their due diligence.”
Harris added the UFC has petitioned the state for a one-time exception to allow foreign contestants to compete inside TD Garden with or without a valid SS number. However, state officials are strictly prohibited from issuing an MMA license to any fighter without proper documentation.
The UFC has yet to publicly address the issue.
This could be much ado about nothing. The UFC made their lone appearance in Boston for UFC 118. There were four foreign-born fighters in the August 2010 card.
In addition, the report estimates a UFC event could generate as much as $50 million for the city of Boston. So, here’s guessing lawmakers and the UFC will find common ground well before showtime.
Furthermore, FOX is involved in this blockbuster show. The network will air the majority of card when they kick off their brand new Fox Sports 1 channel.
Here is “UFC on Fox Sports 1: Shogun vs. Sonnen’s” current lineup. There are several foreign-born fighters competing:
(Facebook 4:30PM ET/1:30PM PT)
Ramsey Nijem vs. James Vick
Cole Miller vs. Manny Gamburyan
Cody Donovan vs. Ovince St. Preux
(Fox Sports 1 6PM ET/3PM PT)
Diego Brandao vs. Daniel Pineda
Mike Brown vs. Akira Corassani
Conor McGregor vs. Andy Ogle
Michael McDonald vs. Brad Pickett
(Fox Sports 1 8PM ET/5PM PT)
Joe Lauzon vs. Michael Johnson
Uriah Hall vs. Nick Ring
Matt Brown vs. Thiago Alves
Urijah Faber vs. Yuri Alcantara
Alistair Overeem vs. Travis Browne
Chael Sonnen vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua