Enjoy the Octagon this Saturday, Boston, because the UFC might not be back for quite some time. During Monday’s conference call, UFC president Dana White said the political red tape the promotion had to maneuver around to host this weekend’s show inside TD Garden might not be worth a return trip to Beantown.
“I’d be a liar if I said no,” White responded when asked if the hoops they had to jump through was worth holding future shows in his hometown. “It’s a great place to go hang out with my friends and eat, but it’s not a great place to put on fights.”
Things got off to a rocky start when state officials refused the UFC’s request to bypass rules barring foreign-born fighters from competing in Boston without Social Security numbers. After smoothing things over, Unite Here, an affiliate of Culinary Union 226, and women’s organization Mass NOW filed complaints with the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission demanding Chael Sonnen be denied licensure for his fight against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.
They issued letters to Massachusetts’ governing body highlighting the fact Sonnen was convicted of money laundering in 2011. Mass NOW accused Sonnen of engaging in racist, sexist and other discriminatory behaviors.
After hearing the complains, the MSAC finally decided last Friday to move forward with the show’s main event as planned.
The Culinary Union, a Nevada-based group that is attempting to unionize Station Casinos, has been a major thorn in the UFC’s side for the past several years. Stations Casinos is owned by UFC co-owners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta.
“What these guys are doing, for the simple fact that they’re spending their union members’ dues to try to hurt the UFC, which has nothing to do with the union members or whatever it might be, it’s so transparent and just so ridiculous,” White said. “These guys are, for instance, they use different organizations on serious issues, whether it’s women or gay rights, whatever it may be, they use these different organizations to try to get what they want.
“What they want is Station Casinos. If they get Station Casinos, it’s another $10 million a year to the union. So they’ll use any dirty tactic and spend as much money as it takes to try to get Station Casinos.”
The UFC made its only other appearance in Boston with UFC 118. At least to outsiders, that August 2010 card went off without a hitch.
Don’t be sad, Boston. At least you’ve still got your Celtics 😉