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Thanksgiving day arrest won’t affect Geoff Neal’s fight against Santiago Ponzinibbio at UFC 269

UFC Fight Night: Thompson v Neal Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Despite a Thanksgiving day arrest in Texas for driving while intoxicated (DWI) and unlawfully carrying a weapon, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight, Geoff Neal, will still be fighting Santiago Ponzinibbio at UFC 269 on Dec. 11, 2021.

That’s the official word from UFC, which told ESPN it was, “in communication with [Neal] and are in the process of gathering more details.” The details thus far, at least those given by Neal’s lawyer, Brandon Barnett, certainly downplay the whole situation to some sort of misunderstanding.

According to Barnett, Neal volunteered to give a blood test after being arrested that will prove he was not actually driving drunk. And if he wasn’t driving drunk, then the gun charges will also disappear because the firearm Neal had was legally licensed. It only became unlawful to carry it when committing a crime — in this case the drunk driving.

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“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 told ESPN.

There’s no further details on how Neal’s arrest went down like why he was pulled over and whether he was breathalyzed or refused a breathalyzer test. Not to be cynical, but he wouldn’t be the first person to refuse an immediate breathalyzer test and go for the blood test at the police station the hopes his levels drop below .08.

Then again, he also wouldn’t be the first person to be booked on trumped up charges because some cop decided he wants to hold this guy with a legal firearm in his car.

Whatever the case, it’s going take a while for those blood test results to come in — between six weeks and six months. And in the meantime, Neal is free to fight Ponzinibbio in a fight where both men are looking to re-establish themselves following near career-ending infections and break into the Welterweight Top 10.


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