UTEP Gets Tentative Approval to Host Chavez-Lee Fight

University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa during a Joint Committee on Oversight of Higher Education Governance, Excellence and Transparency hearing on Sept. 21, 2011.
University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa during a Joint Committee on Oversight of Higher Education Governance, Excellence and Transparency hearing on Sept. 21, 2011.

The University of Texas at El Paso may get to host a boxing match between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. of Mexico and Andy Lee of Ireland at Sun Bowl Stadium after all.

University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa has given the go-ahead to Diana Natalicio, president of UTEP, to move forward with contract negotiations that would allow them to host the highly anticipated event on the school's campus.

Earlier this week, Cigarroa decided that UTEP would not play host to the event, citing a risk assessment that noted the risk for the event was "higher than normal." The decision ignited a media frenzy and was met with indignation from El Paso politicians and community leaders, who accused the chancellor of tarnishing the city's reputation.

Following discussions with law enforcement officials over the last two days, Cigarroa reversed his decision and says the fight can go on if certain conditions are met.

According to a statement released by the UT System, the conditions include: letters from key law officials stating that any increased risk factors can be reduced to a normal level, no alcoholic beverages may be sold at or brought to the event, neither the school nor the system will incur any security costs beyond normal levels, a security plan, and written assurance from Natalicio that security concerns have been addressed.

In a video message accompanying the release, Cigarroa praises the border region, and El Paso specifically. "This is a region that I grew up in, that I truly love, and that I admire," he said.

"The process of my decision-making process resulted in angst and at times anger by the El Paso community, and I accept that," he said. "But I cannot apologize for my increased sensitivity about safety concerns on any campus across the University of Texas System."

Here's the chancellor's message:

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