WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury won’t get a chance to look each other in the eyes following their weigh-ins on Friday.
That’s after the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) barred them from doing so following their recent faceoff during a press conference on Wednesday. As Wilder and Fury squared off, they started trash talking each other before it eventually led to pushing and shoving until security had to intervene.
“The reason the decision was made, on behalf of the commission, is because the press conference [Wednesday] spoke for itself,” NSAC executive director Bob Bennett told ESPN on Thursday. “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.
“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.”
The decision hasn’t gone down well for some.
For one, Top Rank president Todd duBoef — Bob Arum’s stepson — called it frustrating especially as the traditional weigh-in faceoff is the money shot before a big fight:
“In my 25 years in boxing, I’ve never heard of an administrative body stepping in and prohibiting a faceoff,” duBoef said. “It’s the pinnacle moment before the fight. I am just shocked. That’s the money shot and not having that is frustrating.”
Former UFC two-weight champion Conor McGregor also chimed in, asking the NSAC to reconsider its decision:
“Guys, please relax here. Vegas commission, you are one of thee best commissions, bar none, for impeccably handling events of unpredictability. Place men between the men. Security on stage. Let them get one last look at each other. The last look before it’s really f*cking on.”
What do you make of the NSAC’s decision to bar a final faceoff between Wilder and Fury?