Returning to his former hometown of Boston to put on a show Saturday night hasn’t been much fun for UFC president Dana White. UFC Fight Night 26 will go off as scheduled, but the promotion has faced many obstacles along the way.
The Massachusetts State Athletic Commission in June required all foreign fighters scheduled to appear on the card to obtain Social Security numbers. To save their event, UFC officials scrambled to meet the requirement.
Chael Sonnen, who has received testosterone replacement therapy exceptions in numerous jurisdictions, was challenged by the local commission just weeks before the event. Last week, he was cleared to compete.
That would have seemed to be the end of UFC’s troubles in Massachusetts, but there was more to come. According to White, Boston City Council President Steve Murphy has banned anyone 18 years of age and under from attending Saturday night’s event.
“When I come back East [to Boston] and have to deal with these blatant lying politicians, it’s unbelievable,” White said. “It’s the same stuff we’re going through in New York.
“Everyone knows why we are not in New York. It’s the same guy [New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver] who’s not making it happen. And everybody knows what’s going on with this Murphy guy -- it’s the [Culinary] union. It’s just ridiculous.”
The Las Vegas-based Culinary Union has been in a longstanding labor dispute with Station Casinos and co-founder Lorenzo Fertitta, who is also CEO and chairman of Zuffa LLC, the parent company of UFC.