FOX Sports Exclusive
UFC on FOX Sports 1 debut in danger?
UFC’s debut on FOX Sports 1 set for Aug. 17 remains on track, even if the MMA governing body has to get through some red tape in the meantime.
The card includes several foreign fighters, all of whom will need temporary Social Security numbers before Massachusetts will grant them a fighting license. Brazilian Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is scheduled to face Chael Sonnen in the main event. Alistair Overeem (Netherlands), Yuri Alcantara (Brazil) and Thiago Alves (Brazil) are also scheduled to compete.
“Last week, these requirements were brought to UFC’s attention and we immediately began working to ensure that all athletes affected by this are in full compliance,” the UFC said in a statement on Tuesday. “We are continuing to work on this and anticipate a positive outcome.”
The Boston Herald reported Monday night that the entire card --- set to take place at TD Garden --- was possibly in jeopardy because of the requirement. Terrel Harris, spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety, told FOXSports.com that there’s still “plenty of time” for the fighters to work with the Social Security Administration and secure the required credentials.
“They said the fight was in jeopardy,” Sonnen said on UFC Tonight. “The fight has never been in jeopardy, and “Shogun” and I have already been cleared.”
The law requiring Social Security numbers for fighters has been on the books since pro MMA was legalized in the state in 2009. The UFC held its first event in Boston, UFC 118, a year later.
“They’ve never gotten around the rule,” Harris said.
In other venue news, UFC’s 20th anniversary fight will take place in Las Vegas on Nov. 16. The event will feature a welterweight title fight between longtime champ Georges St-Pierre and top contender Johny Hendricks, FUEL TV’s Ariel Helwani confirmed.
“Dana White will have no shortage of ideas for this show,” Sonnen said on UFC Tonight. “Look at what they’ve done for UFC 100, the premiere on FOX. Everyone will throw their hat in the ring to be a part of it. The UFC will make it huge.”
It was also reported on UFC Tonight that Ricardo Lamas is officially off the UFC 162 card, although he will get to keep the show money. Lamas was originally slated to face Chan Sung Jung ("The Korean Zombie”), but Jung was tapped to face featherweight champ Jose Aldo instead.
A hole atop the card was created when Anthony Pettis was forced to drop out due to a knee injury.
“Ricardo Lamas deserves the fight based on who he’s fought and beaten, but if I’m a businessman, “The Korean Zombie” is a more popular name and it makes sense,” UFC Tonight host Kenny Florian said.
Shortly after Stefan Struve called out Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Helwani got a response from Big Nog. Nogueira said he’d be ready to fight again by November.
“The bigger they are, the harder they fall,” Nogueira said.