Conor McGregor receives referee boost ahead of Floyd Mayweather fight


The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) have confirmed that they will not use Kenny Bayless as a referee for the upcoming Floyd Mayweather v Conor McGregor bout.

The Irish light middleweight makes the move across from mixed martial arts to face five-weight champ Mayweather in a mega-money bout at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on August 26th.

There had been a minor controversy brewing in recent weeks, with McGregor’s team voicing there objections to Bayless potentially being the referee for the bout.

The veteran, who officiated four of Mayweather’s five final bouts, as well as major fights against Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley – and has come in for criticism from select quarters of the boxing world for his handling of Mayweather fights, with some viewing him as being favourable to the ‘Money May’

In addition, the Las Vegas official last year expressed his disapproval of the then-mooted fight on ES News, and UFC President Dana White reacted furiously when the footage re-emerged.

McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh also stated on a Boards.ie Q&A session that he would object to Bayless should he be chosen, while ‘The Notorious’ himself voiced objections during his media workout last week

They needn’t have worried however, with the NSAC confirming that Bayless was never in the running for the gig, citing his earlier ES News interview as reason for his non-consideration

NSAC Director Bob Bennett told the LA Times that “Kenny Bayless was removed from being considered because of the comment.”

“Based on his comment — he shouldn’t be talking to the media unless it’s something mundane, like about how an official works — he was removed long before McGregor said anything. Conor McGregor had nothing to do with Kenny Bayless’ removal,”

“Kenny’s an outstanding referee, I don’t think he’s prejudiced toward Mayweather or anyone else, but the fact he made the statement that the event shouldn’t be going on makes him ineligible to be considered as the referee.”

The LA Times report that Russell Mora, Robert Byrd, and Tony Weeks are the referees in the running to officiate the fight.

McGregor remains a 7/2 outsider with NetBet Sport to win the bout, but this revelation is sure to boost the Dubliner’s confidence.

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie