UFC welterweight Geoff Neal arrested on DWI and weapons charges one week before fight

The American’s bout with Santiago Ponzinibbio on 11 December ‘remains as scheduled’, the UFC said

Alex Pattle
Combat Sports Correspondent
Friday 03 December 2021 16:31
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FILE: UFC President Dana White and family tests positive for COVID-19

UFC welterweight Geoff Neal has been arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated and carrying a weapon unlawfully, per reports.

Neal, 31, was arrested in Texas on Thanksgiving (Thursday 25 November), according to a Collin County Sheriff’s Office document obtained by MMA Junkie and ESPN.

The news comes just over a week before the American’s scheduled bout with Santiago Ponzinibbio at UFC 269.

In a statement provided to The Independent on Friday, the UFC said it is “aware of the recent situation involving Geoff Neal”, and that it has “been in communication with him and is in the process of gathering more details.

“Neal’s bout at UFC 269 on December 11th remains as scheduled,” the statement concluded.

Neal’s lawyer Brandon Barnett told ESPN that the fighter volunteered for a blood test upon arrest, and that his team believe the results of that test will prove that Neal was not over the legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08 per cent.

In Texas, it is illegal to possess a firearm while allegedly committing another crime, even if the weapon is legally licensed – which Barnett claims it is.

“If it turns out he was not legally intoxicated – which we expect the blood test will show – there won’t be a gun charge, either,” Barnett said.

Neal (13-4) is ranked 12th in the UFC’s welterweight rankings and is on a two-fight losing streak, having been outpointed by Neil Magny in May and Stephen Thompson last December.

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