Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury got a wee bit chippy during their final press conference yesterday and the Nevada State Athletic Commission is none too pleased, officially banning the pair from facing off after tomorrow’s weigh-ins.
From NSAC executive director Bob Bennett:
“The actions of the two fighters pushing each other, which was not staged, is not indicative of the image of our sport as a major league sport, thus having a faceoff is not in the best interest in the health and safety of the fighters, the public and the event,” Bennett said.
”And, quite frankly, that image, where you have two professional athletes pushing each other where somebody could get hurt, is not keeping with the image of a major league sport and we’re a major league sport.”
Top Rank head honcho Bob Arum doesn’t have a (public) issue with the ruling.
“If this fight depends on a faceoff to sell it, we have not done our job,” Arum told ESPN. “They will take pictures, just no faceoff. This commission realizes because of ESPN and Fox that boxing is back as major sport and we’re not going to f--- it up by having these guys push each other or fight each other at a weigh-in.
I get where Bennett’s coming from, aside from the inherent lunacy in policing the image of a sport where cranial trauma is the goal rather than a byproduct, but the explanation rings hollow. The is the commission that let Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier have a full-on brawl without implementing these sorts of sanctions, and if I had a nickel for every pre-fight HOLD ME BACK, BRO moment that’s amounted to nothing in this sport’s recent history, I could afford the pay-per-view.
In any event, those of you appalled by two grown men shoving each other should join us on Saturday when they punch each other instead.