Gegard Mousasi is ready to fight Chris Weidman at UFC 210. He just doesn’t know if he’ll be able to.
Mousasi told MMA DNA in a video interview published Tuesday that he is unsure if he’ll be let into the United States due to the Executive Order signed last week by President Donald Trump temporarily banning people from certain Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. due to potential national security fears.
Mousasi, 31, was born in Iran, one of the seven countries on the list. Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia are the others. Mousasi is also a Dutch national who has been living in the Netherlands for years. He said he has a visa to get into the U.S., but it’s unclear if that will work due to the new rules.
“I don’t know,” Mousasi said. “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.”
Over the weekend, protests snarled many of the major airports in the U.S. when refugees and other immigrants from those seven countries were detained and some deported. A New York judge ruled Saturday that it was illegal for authorities to remove people from those countries who had already arrived in the United States.
On Monday, Trump fired acting attorney general Sally Yates, because she said she would not defend the travel ban. The entire situation and its execution have been criticized worldwide.
“The rule is even if you’re born in Iran, you’re a threat,” Mousasi said with a shrug. … “It’s gonna ruin the relationship between countries. I think the U.S. is on the wrong path.”
Mousasi’s manager Nima Safapour told MMA Fighting on Tuesday that he doesn’t foresee any issues with Mousasi getting into the country to face Weidman at UFC 210 on April 8 in Buffalo, but everything is fluid right now.
“No problem that we know about,” Safapour said. “These are uncertain times. Info is changing every day but we are remaining optimistic.”
UFC president Dana White does have a direct tie to the White House. White and Trump have been friends for years, going back to when the UFC promoted shows at Trump’s Atlantic City casinos in the early 2000s. White spoke for Trump at the Republican National Convention in July.
In a statement, UFC officials said they are in the process of making sure fighters are able to legally get where they need to be for the promotion.
“We are aware of the federal travel ban,” the statement read. “There are numerous variables including a judicial injunction. We are monitoring 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."