Sorry may not be enough for Nevada boxing regulators weighing Mike Tyson’s fate.
Unswayed by Tyson’s apology and plea not to be banned from boxing, the Nevada State Athletic Commission will meet next week to decide how to punish the former heavyweight champion for biting a chunk out of Evander Holyfield’s right ear.
“Something bad happened in the ring. The apology doesn’t change what happened in the ring,” said Dr. Elias Ghanem, the commission chairman.
The commission voted Tuesday to suspend Tyson pending the hearing and to go ahead with a formal complaint, which Tyson said he would not contest. His nearly $30 million paycheck remains in the hands of the commission.
Tyson could face up to a lifetime ban from boxing along with a $3 million fine when the commission meets July 9.
All five commissioners declined to say what they thought the appropriate penalty for Tyson would be, but they can fine him a maximum of 10 percent of his purse, or $3 million, or suspend him from boxing for however long they want.
“We can do anything all the way from doing nothing to banning him for life,” said Dr. James Nave, a commission member.
A suspension of any significant length would be far more costly than any fine the commission could impose, however. The former heavyweight champion has made $140 million in purses from the six fights he has had in less than two years since being released from prison on a rape conviction.
The commission had already been set to meet Tuesday to consider suspending Oliver McCall and fining him $250,000 for quitting in his Feb. 7 WBC heavyweight title fight with Lennox Lewis. That was postponed, but if the proposed settlement that includes a year’s suspension for McCall is any indication, Tyson’s penalty figures to be even longer.
“Quitting is quitting,” Ghanem said. “Biting is different than quitting.
“The thing I liked from his apology,” he said, “was that he’s said he needed some psychological and psychiatric treatment. As a doctor, I think that’s significant.”
Tyson didn’t appear at the commission’s emergency hearing, which drew a crowd of several hundred people to Las Vegas City Hall.
Tuesday’s meeting was more procedural than anything, with the commission setting into motion under Nevada law the formal proceeding. Tyson would ordinarily have 30 days to respond, but his attorney, Marty Keach, said the boxer would waive that right.
“We’re obviously going to ask for some reason and judgment” Keach said. “He also wants to fight again. That’s what he does for a living. That’s what his whole life is based on.”
Poll suggests lifetime ban
Boxer Tyson should be suspended from the sport for life after he bit Holyfield’s ears, 70 percent of people surveyed in a poll conducted by an Internet service said.
Ten percent of respondents wanted Tyson suspended for two years, 11 percent for six months to a year, and six percent did not believe he should be suspended at all, CBS Sportsline said. Three percent were undecided.
The poll, conducted by CBS Sportsline over a 24-hour period, allowed on-line visitors to vote on how long Tyson should be suspended. It received 4,216 responses and used a device to ensure that only one vote could be received from a single computer, CBS Sportsline said.
Nevada legislators act
Boxers could lose up to their entire purse for biting or other unacceptable acts under a bill approved in Carson City, Nev.
The Nevada Senate Judiciary Committee originally proposed legislation that dealt with acts of mayhem in the ring - including ear-biting - but increased the penalty and the scope of offenses at the request of the Nevada Athletic Commission.
Lawmakers proposed the legislation Monday after being outraged by Tyson’s ear-biting of Holyfield. The money would go to a fund for abused and neglected children.
No hearing failure
Holyfield should be able to hear fine from the ear that Tyson chomped a chunk out of Saturday night.
But that doesn’t mean the ear will look normal again. It won’t, not even after America’s finest doctors stitch it back together.
“People will be able to notice it, particularly if you wear short hair the way he does. It’ll look strange, what we call a ‘cookie-bite injury.’ What Tyson did is like taking a bite out of a cookie,” said Dr. Mack Cheney, who runs the facial reconstructive surgery program at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.
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