Red tape and paperwork may get in the way of the UFC's plans for their first fight on the new station, Fox Sports 1. The card is slated for Boston, but a law requiring certain documentation for foreign-born fighters could complicate things.
The Boston Herald reports that when Massachusetts legalized MMA, it required that foreign-born fighters to get Social Security numbers.
“This law has been in existence since we legalized mixed martial arts in the commonwealth of Massachusetts,” said Terrell Harris, spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety. “It’s been brought to the attention of the UFC more than a few times since we legalized the fighting here. But they’ve chosen basically to ignore the law and hope that they could skirt it somehow."
According to Harris, the Social Security Administration allows for numbers with temporary work visas. But Shu Hirata, a manager who works with international fighters, said it's not that simple.
He tweeted the U.S. only gives tax identification numbers, not social security numbers. The officials in Massachusetts need to accept tax I.D. numbers for the foreign-born fighters. The process also involves the fighters sending in their passports to the IRS, which understandably would make anyone nervous.
Main eventer Mauricio "Shogun" Rua is Brazilian-born. Nick Ring is Canadian. Connor McGregor is from Ireland. Four other fighters from the card live and train outside the U.S. Thiago Alves is Brazilian, Brad Pickett is British, and Alistair Overeem is from the Netherlands. However, they live and train in the United States. Turning over their passport and dealing with the IRS is not quite as big of an ordeal as it is for the fighters who live outside the country.