For McGregor-Mayweather, important decisions on gloves and officials to come at next NSAC meeting

Next week’s meeting of the Nevada Athletic Commission is shaping up to be a very important one for Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather. That’s because there’s much that’s still to be decided about how their boxing match will proceed, and with the commission’s final meeting of the month set for 10 days prior to the bout – on Aug. 16 – some potentially divisive calls await.

Among the decisions yet to be made is what sort of gloves the fighters will wear.

Mayweather took to social media recently to request eight-ounce gloves for the bout, as opposed to the 10-ounce gloves that the Nevada commission typically mandates for any bout heavier than 147 pounds. His reasoning was simple, Mayweather (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

“Whatever advantage McGregor needs to feel more comfortable in the ring, I’m willing to accommodate,” Mayweather wrote. “Let’s give the boxing and MMA fans what they want to see.”

But according to Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) Executive Director Bob Bennett, that would require special permission from the commission, which the commission would likely give only if a compelling case could be made for the change in protocol.

The fighters and their representatives will have the opportunity to make that case at next week’s commission meeting, Bennett today told MMAjunkie in an email.

“We will have one hearing on the gloves,” Bennett wrote, with a decision to follow at the same meeting. The commission will also be selecting officials for the bout at the same meeting, and that decision could get contentious as well.

According to Sky Sports, McGregor has requested that an “international” judge be added to the list of ringside officials, apparently out of concern that a panel of exclusively American judges might be biased against him.

McGregor’s team has also expressed reservations about who the commission might choose as the referee for the bout, with officials like boxing referee Kenny Bayless getting an early thumbs down from McGregor’s longtime coach, John Kavanagh.

“I think we’re going to have a hard time finding a fair referee and a fair set of judges,” Kavanagh said in an interview with last month. “It will be very difficult for a 50- to 60-year-old boxing referee to not go into this bout a little bit biased.”

The NSAC will consider all those arguments at the Aug. 16 meeting, Bennett said, and a final decision on officials will be made at that time. It may prove to be an important one, especially with McGregor competing in his first professional boxing match – and against a legendary fighter who’s been accused by former opponents of stretching the boundaries of the rules.

A hint as to McGregor’s strategy may have come from Kavanagh, who suggested that a referee with experience working MMA bouts be selected, on the grounds that such a person “will understand the inside fighting that will go into this fight.”

Anyone wishing to make their case for or against specific referees and officials had better hone those arguments now. After the NSAC meeting, the cast of pertinent characters will officially be set.

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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So, how do you determine odds for Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather, anyway?,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5513192455001
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(This is the first installment of a three-part series on the gambling aspect of the “The Money Fight” between boxer Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor.)

Scott Cooley remembers exactly where he was on June 14. He was eating with his family at Mary Lou’s Cafe in San Antonio when the bar TV across the room delivered news that, after months of rumor, hype, and speculation, “The Money Fight” between five-division world boxing champ Floyd Mayweather and UFC superstar Conor McGregor was actually going to happen.

As an avid fan of both boxing and MMA, Cooley was “gleefully excited.” But as an odds consultant for offshore sportsbook, Cooley immediately realized that, like McGregor, the situation was going to put him a bit outside of his element.

“I told my wife, ‘Well, I’ve got a lot of work to do tonight,’” Cooley told MMAjunkie. “And yes, the news prompted the consumption of one more margarita.”

Obviously the celebrity of the controversial combatants, along with the novelty of the inter-combat-sport spectacle, slated for Aug. 26 in Las Vegas, was bound to attract interest and action anywhere gamblers could lay a bet. The problem Cooley and his fellow bookmakers faced was how to set the odds for something that has never happened before.

“You’re delving into the unknown,” Cooley said. “Obviously McGregor is a capable fighter in all aspects of physical combat, but when you’re thrust into unknown territory, it’s hard to put a value on what he might or might not be able to do in a boxing ring. And you’re not just putting him out there against Joe Boxer—you’re putting him out there against one of the greatest boxers of all time.”

Like a lion fighting a shark beached on his turf, the undefeated super featherweight Mayweather was clearly going to be the super heavyweight favorite—if not a virtual lock. But how do you handicap the fight – one with fight purses that could reach $400 million – so that it’s enticing to would-be bettors while keeping this fantasy matchup within the bounds of reality?

Fortunately for Cooley and company, the boxing ring has a long tradition of being the setting for Hollywood endings, where anyone who’s tough enough to climb the stairs of the Philadelphia Art Museum or spar with a side of beef has a puncher’s chance of pulling out an upset. No one seems to remember that Rocky actually lost.

“When it comes to gambling, boxing, in general, is a different animal,” said Todd Fuhrman, gaming insider for Fox Sports and CBS and host of the “Bet the Board” podcast. “The money line creates a disparity between the pros and the Joes, and the recreational bettor backs the underdog. They don’t care if he has a chance. They have a chance to bet a little and make a lot.”

And this time, the underdog isn’t a Buster Douglas unknown going up against Mike Tyson. As Fuhrman points out, McGregor is a huge name with lots of cache, albeit in a completely different sport.

But Jay Rood, vice president of race and sports at MGM Resorts, which is hosting the pay-per-view event at T-Mobile, says casual gamblers know little and care less about the differences between squared circle and octagon.

“A lot of people who are going to watch this are MMA fans,” Rood said. “Hardcore boxing purists are going to turn their nose up at this a bit, but you know, it’s really no worse than a boxer who’s 25-0 taking on a journeyman boxer who’s 14-23 on an undercard getting ready for a title shot.”

In other words, even if casual bettors don’t think McGregor makes much of a boxer, the Irishman’s notoriety alone will win him as much support as an anonymous stepping-stone pug.

Vegas odds opened up with McGregor being around a +1,100 underdog, while the offshore sites tended to keep the action narrower (+635) to attract interest. picked Mayweather as a -975 favorite (Vegas was closer to -2,500). But even at those steep odds, Cooley says he’s already seen some heavy bets on the Irishman—and not just from novice bettors, but players who win betting MMA on a weekly basis.

“I don’t know what some of our sharper betters are thinking,” he said. “If we knew, maybe we would lose less money to them.”

While some saltier gamblers are obviously finding value, most bettors are thus far treating “The Money Fight” for the reality TV it is, putting up a few bucks to speculate on what Kim Kardashian will say next or who will ultimately sit on the Iron Throne.

“We’re in the entertainment business,” Rood said. “Based on what I’m seeing, there’s an appetite to see how this shuffles out. If it’s not as one-sided as people like me are setting it out to be, we might be witnessing the next saga of combat sports.”

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Tony Rehagen is a freelance writer based in St. Louis. His work has appeared in Men’s Health, GQ, espnW and others. Follow him on Twitter @trehagen.

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