We’re now roughly two months away from the eagerly awaited ‘UFC On FOX Sports 1’ event which will air during the channel’s launch night on August 17th, but the entire fight card may be under threat due to a legal issue that’s emerging in Boston which is the city that’s been chosen to host the show.
In essence it boils down to the fact that Boston officials are demanding that all foreign fighters have social security numbers in order to get a temporary work visa, a rule that hasn’t been enforced in the past.
“This law has been in existence since we legalized mixed martial arts in the commonwealth of Massachusetts,” Terrell Harris, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety tells The Boston Herald.
“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.”
The ruling could potentially force major foreign stars like Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua and Alistair Overeem out of the event if the matter isn’t successfully resolved sooner than later.
However, the Boston authorities have said they are willing to try to work with the UFC to figure this out. Given that there’s likely to be tens of millions of dollars pumped into the Boston economy thanks to this event and it’s surrounding festivities then you’d imagine it would be in their best interests to do so.
I’d imagine there will be time to iron out this issue before fight night, but I wonder if the UFC might also be looking to an alternative venue in a different state as a back up plan. It’d be a major headache to have to shift the show at this stage though, particularly as tickets for it go on sale today.
Being given the opportunity to front the FOX Sports channel’s debut night primetime schedule is a big deal for the UFC though so they’ll be eager to ensure that it goes ahead one way or another.