LAS VEGAS – Geoff Neal is putting his recent legal troubles behind him.

At a UFC 269 pre-fight news conference Wednesday, Neal (13-4 MMA, 5-2 UFC) spoke publicly for the first time since his driving while intoxicated and unlawful carry firearm arrest Nov. 25 in Texas and indicated that the incident wasn’t as serious as some people made it out to be.

“I don’t have comments on what really went down,” Neal told reporters, including MMA Junkie. “I haven’t been charged with any crime yet. Pretty much, they had probable cause and instead of doing a breathalyzer, I chose to do the blood. So they’re waiting on the results to get back. I know that, and we’ll go from there.”

Neal denied that drinking alcohol while in the middle of a fight camp is normal for him. The drinking was an isolated occurrence, Neal said, and the gun charge was not as it seemed.

“It was just a one-night thing,” Neal said. “I just decided to kick back and relax with my girlfriend. I had a few drinks, you know. Then, there was the situation that happened, and cops got involved, and I did have my weapon on me. My weapon is legal. It’s licensed in my name. They made it look like I had a MAC-10 in my lap, driving around drunk or something. But it’s not as serious as they made it out to be. It’s not like I was drunk off my ass, hungover, running the streets. It was a one-time thing.”

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Despite having to deal with the mid-fight camp drama that ensued after he arrest was reported, Neal is taking it in stride. He said his camp has not been hindered, and he isn’t distracted.

“It is what it is,” Neal said. “I’m the dumbass that did that, so I just have to deal with it.”

Neal will return to action Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in a welterweight contender fight against Santiago Ponzinibbio (28-4 MMA, 10-3 UFC) on the pay-per-view main card. Both fighters are popular viewing attractions for fans, which could make for an entertaining bout.

“That’s how I see it, too,” Neal said. “A potential ‘Fight of the Night’ or a potential ‘Performance of the Night.’ It’s going to go either way. … I feel like it’s a ‘I will win’ type moment. I’m going to win this fight. It’s a must-win, whatever. Who cares? I’m just here. I’m living in the moment. I just got to get this job done. … I never look at a fight like, ‘It’s probably going to be a war.’ I hope it’s not a war. I hope I knock him out in the first round. He’s a tough, dude, though. So, yeah, it might be a war.”

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More than anything, however, Neal is excited entering UFC 269. It’s been a while since he’s fought in front of a full arena since UFC 245 in December 2019, so he’s thrilled to have that opportunity Saturday.

“You’ve just got to go in the cage with the killer mentality,” Neal said. “The last two fights, I really didn’t approach the fights like that. It might even be fighting in the (UFC) Apex. I’m not going to lie. Fighting in the Apex is boring as f*ck. I do not want to fight in the Apex no more. This time, I get to fight in thee T-Mobile Arena, and I’m excited about that. Fight week is fun right now. I’m just looking forward to getting there on a Saturday, walking through the arena, fans yelling and screaming. I want that. I live for that.



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