It took some last-minute scrambling, but it appears that, barring injury, the lineup for the UFC’s Fox Sports 1 debut in Boston will remain intact.
According to a report in Sunday’s Boston Herald, the UFC has been able to obtain social security numbers for all foreign fighters set to compete on Aug. 17. In Massachusetts, a fighter must have a valid social security number in order to be licensed to fight. The law was in place when the Las Vegas-based promotion first ventured to Boston for UFC 118 in 2010, but the state’s athletic commission was not aware of its existence at the time.
Generally, only American citizens receive social security numbers, but foreign fighters can apply for one if they have a legitimate visa. UFC on Fox Sports 1 “Shogun vs. Sonnen” features a diverse lineup with a number of prominent fighters hailing from foreign countries, including Brazilian Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (Pictured), who squares off Chael Sonnen in the evening’s main event, and Dutchman Alistair Overeem, who faces Travis Browne in the co-headliner.
The event is of particular significance for the UFC, because it marks the official launch date for the new Fox network, which is expected to compete with ESPN for 24-hour sports content supremacy. An earlier report in the Herald suggested that the law could place the card in jeopardy, which led to more than a few tense moments for UFC officials.
“You know, when it gets down to the fact, do you want to change the card? You know, do you want to move fights around and switch fights?,” White told the Herald. “When that starts happening, it’s like ‘Yeah, maybe we can’t do the fight here.’ But, you know, we figured it out.”
According to the Herald, the UFC’s immigration department has been working diligently to get the issue resolved so that no one will have to be removed from the card.
“We ended up getting everything straightened out,” White said. “The fights will happen. The card will be great. It’s going to be good. There’s always something. It literally never ends. There’s always something, something that pops up or whatever. We’re pretty used to dealing with this stuff.”