In the weeks leading up to UFC Fight Night 26: Shogun vs. Sonnen, which is set to launch FOX Sports 1 on August 17th at the TD Bank Grand Garden, several concerns have arisen that may have New Englander’s on edge as time draws closer to the event.
First there was licensing issues regarding all the foreign fighters on the card like Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Alistair Overeem. The Massachusetts State Boxing Comission typically does not license fighters without social security numbers, and combatants hailing from other countries sometimes do not have a SSN. The issue was quickly resolved and all was well for the time being.
Then just this week FOX Sports 1 reported that unions were attempting to ban minors from the event, but the latest drama in this sequence of events involves one of main event athletes, Chael Sonnen. MMAJunkie reported earlier today that another union is attempting to block the licensing of “The American Gangster” less than two weeks before fight night.
MMAJunkie reports that Unite Here, a New York and Washington D.C. based union, has issued a complaint surrounding Sonnen’s felony conviction of money laundering from 2011, citing “moral turpitude” surrounding his conviction. It appears Chael Sonnen’s fate will be determined behind closed doors tomorrow in a meeting with the MSBC. MMAJunkie spoke with Terrel Harris, a Department of Public Saftey representative who told the site, “The commissioners will sit in and they’ll hammer out the issue. When they’ve made a final decision, they’ll let everybody know what that decision was. Bottom line is that they have to do it relatively soon, because the fight’s a week from Saturday.”
MMAJunkie also received an official statement from Unite Here which reads as follows: “A dozen UNITE HERE activists will voice their objection to the issuance of a license to Mr. Sonnen at a public meeting Thursday of the State Athletic Commission, and will hand-deliver the complaint to Public Safety Secretary Andrea Cabral, who oversees the Athletic Commission. The union activists will deliver the same information to the Boston offices of Eaton Vance Management, an investment management firm that has invested in the debt of Zuffa, LLC, the Las Vegas-based parent of the UFC.”
While we all must sit with intense anticipation as we wait for the final verdict, Bostonian’s and New Englander’s alike should pray to the MMA gods to help keep Mr. Sonnen on the card. Whether you love or hate Sonnen, chances are if he is removed from the fight it will be difficult for the UFC to find a last-minute replacement for Shogun Rua.
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