Despite a report to the contrary, the UFC on Fox Sports 1: Shogun vs. Sonnen fight card is not in jeopardy, according to one UFC representative.
The fight card is slated of Aug. 17 in Boston, and is also supposed to serve as part of the launch-day programming for the new Fox Sports One nationwide sports network.
The Boston Herald, however, reported on Tuesday that there are concerns over the participation of foreign-born fighters, such as main eventer Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. There is a Massachusetts state law requiring all mixed martial arts competitors to have a Social Security number, including foreign-born fighters.
“It’s been brought to the attention of the UFC more than a few times since we legalized the fighting here,” Terrell Harris told the Boston Herald. Harris is a spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety, which regulates prize fighting. “But they’ve chosen basically to ignore the law and hope that they could skirt it somehow.”
Harris said that the UFC has petitioned for a one-time exception, but added that the law is clear and that state officials are not allowed to exempt the promotion and issue MMA licenses to foreign fighters without a social security number.
The UFC does have other options. They can get work visas for the foreign-born fighters and get temporary Social Security numbers for them.
The promotion has operated in Massachusetts once before. UFC 118 took place on Aug. 28, 2010, at the TD Garden in Boston, the same venue that UFC on Fox Sports 1 #1 is scheduled for on Aug. 17.
UFC 118 drew 14, 168 in attendance, producing a live gate of $2.8 million. The first UFC in Boston also featured several foreign-born fighters.
UFC on Fox Sports 1 #1 is an important event for the promotion, with it being the key prime time programming for the Fox Sports 1 launch.
UFC officials had yet to release any public statement at the time of publication, but one UFC representative with knowledge of the situation told MMAWeekly.com, “(UFC on Fox Sports 1 #1) is not in danger, and we’re working on getting visas and social security numbers. Tickets are on sale and moving well.”