Despite eventually getting all of his ducks in a row, UFC president Dana White is not very happy about what he had to go through to set up Saturday’s UFC Fight Night in Boston. A number of issues nearly prevented the event from happening at all, and in a recent teleconference, White indicated that he was not too keen on bringing the UFC back to the city.
The UFC clashed multiple times with the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission, once over the issue of foreign-born fighters not having Social Security numbers, and more recently, a high profile hearing that nearly prevented Chael Sonnen from competing.
When asked if this would affect the UFC’s likelihood to return to Boston, White stated that, “I’d be a liar if I said, ‘No.'”
“It’s a great place to go hang out with my friends and eat, but not a great place to put on fights,” he continued.
The biggest issue it seems was the Las Vegas Culinary Union, who have been waging an ongoing war against the UFC’s parent company Zuffa. A pair of complaints were filed with the athletic commission in an attempt to revoke Chael Sonnen’s license to fight. More bizarrely, the hearing itself was handled in a very obtuse manner, with Sonnen not even being informed of it until the day of the meeting. He was unable to attend in person and had to telecommute in because of this.
“[The hearing] confused me more than it upset me,” Sonnen said. “I didn’t know much about it. I didn’t have any time to prepare. I got a text message, I called in. I was there to answer questions; I wasn’t asked any questions. It was something that could have caused me a great deal of stress had I known about it.”
“I said hello, got cut off, and then said thanks,” he added in a follow-up interview. “It was less than a minute.”
Eventually Sonnen was cleared to compete, allowing Fight Night 26 to continue on schedule, but Dana White is not one to forgive and forget. Addressing the Culinary Union’s continued meddling, White stated that:
“What these guys are doing – for the simple fact that they’re spending union members’ dues to try to hurt the UFC, which has nothing to do with the union members or whatever it might be. It’s so transparent and just so ridiculous. They use different organizations on serious issues, whether it’s women or gay rights or whatever it may be, they use different organizations to try to get what they want, and what they want is Station Casinos.”
“If they get Station Casinos, it’s another $10 million a year to the union,” he continued. “So they’ll use any dirty tactic and spend as much money as it takes to try to get Station Casinos.”
If you’re unfamiliar with the feud, which has been ongoing for several years now, you can read a bit more about in a piece we published yesterday.
UFC Fight Night 26 will take place this Saturday, and will air live on FOX Sports 1. It will be headlined by a bout between Chael Sonnen and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. The UFC last visited Boston in 2010 for UFC 118.