Bob Bennett — Executive Director for Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) — recently stated that he didn’t expect to win a lot of popularity contests for approving the much-criticized boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor.
He will, though, earn brownie points from both camps, as Mayweather and McGregor are expected to earn upward of $100 million (and change) for the scrap.
Still, the fact that it could go down as one of the -- if not the -- biggest money-making fights in combat sports history had no part on swaying Bennett to ultimately approve the fight.
“I take a look at each fighter’s record,” Bennett said on a recent edition of “The MMA Hour” (via MMA Fighting). “I have a standard operating procedure that I use and when it comes to finances, I don’t even want to hear about it. The money does not enter into my position as an executive director.”
The fight — which is set to go down this Saturday (Aug. 26, 2017) in Las Vegas, Nevada — has been on the receiving end of harsh backlash from both the mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing communities, seeing as how Floyd is without a doubt one of the best boxers to ever compete, while “Notorious” doesn’t have one single boxing match on his resume.
But, as Bennet put it, the age, speed and strength advantages McGregor boasts over Mayweather will even out the playing field.
“Conor is the younger, stronger, the longer, more powerful puncher,” Bennett said. “As you know in UFC, he fought Featherweight, Lightweight, Welterweight. His record is 21-3 in MMA — 17 of those wins have come by way of KO or TKO. So he’s a premier striker, knockout artist. He’s a young, aggressive warrior who believes he’s gonna win. And that attitude unto itself makes it very dangerous,” he added.
“But seeing is believing,” Bennett said. “Because it is an approvable fight. That didn’t really have any bearing on whether we would approve it or not. I’m known as an executive director to be very conservative in approving fights, whether they are MMA or boxing. I have a format that I go by that I had to deviate a little from. Because this is unprecedented. It is historic. Both these guys are phenomenal athletes. I took a real close look at Conor, because everybody knows Floyd. He’s 49-0, arguably the best defense in the history of boxing. Future Hall of Famer. Conor is a young warrior coming up.”
Bennett revealed that he met with Conor’s team numerous times to ensure the Irishman understood the unified rules of boxing, and studied tape on Conor boxing while getting the insight of top-level trainer, Virgil Hunter.
After ruling that throwing McGregor against “Money” wouldn’t be a complete mismatch, the fight was ultimately approved, reiterating that money has no say in what fights get approved.
“When it comes to the finances, I cut the people off right away, respectfully,” Bennett said, “because it does not enter into the equation on whether or not I approve a fight.”
Are you buying what Bennett is selling?