If there is concern over the UFC being able to move forward with its Boston card with the same lineup that has been advertised, fans can perhaps breathe a little easier.
The UFC today went ahead as planned with ticket sales for UFC on FOX Sports 1 1, which is slated for Aug. 17 at TD Garden in Boston. The promotion issued a press release for ticket sales, which start on Thursday for the general public, but went on sale to UFC Fight Club members earlier today.
As reported earlier today, a story surfaced in the Boston Herald that said some fights on the show could be in jeopardy due to a Massachsetts law that keeps fighters born outside the country from competing without a U.S. Social Security number.
Slated for the card, the UFC’s first on the new FOX Sports 1 cable network that debuts the same day, are foreign-born standouts like Mauricio Rua (21-7 MMA, 5-5 UFC), who headlines against Chael Sonnen (27-13-1 MMA, 6-6 UFC), and Alistair Overeem (36-12 MMA, 1-1 UFC), who meets Travis Browne (14-1-1 MMA, 5-1-1 UFC) in the co-main event.
This will not be the UFC’s first trip to Massachsetts. UFC 118 took place in Boston in August 2010. Foreign-born fighters competed on that card without issue.
But Terrell Harris, a spokesman for Massachusetts’ Depatment of Public Safety, told the Herald: “This law has been in existence since we legalized mixed martial arts in the commonwealth of Massachusetts. 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.”
SuckerPunch Entertainment’s Shu Hirata, who manages several foreign fighters and assists them in filing U.S. taxes, told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the commission should change its regulations to reflect current laws by allowing non-American fighters to submit an individual tax ID number.
“Right now, if you don’t live in the U.S., you just cannot get a number anymore,” he said. “Instead, you have to get an individual tax ID number. Without the number, you can’t file taxes.”
Hirata said his fighters fill out a W-7 form and send a copy of their passport to the IRS in order to get the ID number, which gives the IRS a way to track earnings and taxes owed. The process usually takes a month to complete.
Harris wrote that the commission’s current laws don’t allow fighters to be licensed with individual tax IDs.
“Those are two entirely different numbers issued by the U.S. government and [the Depatment of Public Safety] cannot blatantly disregard the plain language of the law,” Hirata told MMAjunkie.com.
UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner told MMAFighting.com that the promotion is working on getting visas updated for all the foreign fighters on the card. The visa would allow them to get a social security number, which would allow the summer fight card to stay intact.
For the latest on UFC on FOX Sports 1 1, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Alistair Overeem)
Matt Erickson contributed to this report