UFC president Dana White wasn’t shy about throwing his support behind Donald Trump during election season, but the newly installed commander-in-chief’s immigration ban might be causing a major talent headache for the promotion.
Not unlike the NBA, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has some unanswered questions about the status of its international fighters directly impacted by the controversial policy. Iranian-born middleweight contender Gegard Mousasi shared in an interview with MMA DNA (transcription h/t MMA Fighting) that he doesn’t know if his UFC 210 bout with former champ Chris Weidman can still happen.
“I don’t know,” said the Dutch national. “The UFC is working on it. The lawyers and guys that take care of the visas. I just have to wait. They’re gonna change some things probably in a couple weeks, because there’s a lot of protests [about] the change. I just have to wait and see.”
Mousasi’s manager Nima Safapour presented MMA Fighting with a sunnier forecast when asked about the future status of his client.
“No problem that we know about,” said Safapour. “These are uncertain times. Info is changing every day but we are remaining optimistic.”
The UFC’s statement on the matter is that they’re monitoring things (aren’t we all) and “will be affirmatively engaged to ensure that our fighters and employees are able to go where they need to compete and do their jobs.” Considering that these sorts of “extreme vetting” decrees aren’t exactly the norm, this is not your standard athlete obstacle.
“The rule is even if you’re born in Iran, you’re a threat,” offered Mousasi in his video interview. “It’s gonna ruin the relationship between countries. I think the U.S. is on the wrong path.”