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Geoff Neal Says Thanksgiving Arrest ‘Not As Serious as They Make it Out to Be’



After being arrested for driving while intoxicated and carrying an unlicensed weapon on Thanksgiving, it appeared that Geoff Neal might have bigger concerns than his UFC 269 fight against Santiago Ponzinibbio.

As it turns out, there is still much to be resolved regarding Neal’s case, and the welterweight made it to UFC 269 media day to address the situation. Shortly after news of his arrest broke, UFC officials confirmed the bout against Ponzinibbio would move forward as planned. For now, Neal is awaiting the results of his post-arrest blood screening to contest his DWI.

“I haven’t been charged with any crime yet,” Neil told assembled media (video via MMAjunkie.com). “They had probable cause and instead of doing the breathalyzer, I chose to do the blood [test]. I’m waiting on the results to get back and we’ll go from there.”

Even if Neal beats the charges, the timing of the arrest — he was out at 3:47 a.m. local time — is of concern for someone two weeks away from looking to halt a two-bout losing streak against a fellow welterweight contender. According to Neal, the whole incident was overblown.

“It was just a one night thing. I decided to kick back and relax with my girlfriend, had a few drinks,” Neal said. “And then there was a situation that happened. Cops got involved. I did have my weapon on me, my weapon is legal. It’s licensed in my name. They made it look like I had a MAC-10 in my lap driving around drunk or something.

“It’s not as serious as they make it out to be. It’s not like I was drunk off my ass, hungover ..It was a onetime thing.”

The 31-year-old Neal began his promotional tenure with five consecutive triumphs to establish himself as a person of interest in the UFC at 170 pounds. The Fortis MMA product has hit a bumpy stretch recently, falling to Stephen Thompson and Neil Magny in his last two Octagon appearances.

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