Tyson temporarily suspended by commission
By Tim Graham
LAS VEGAS SUN
Less than three days after shocking the world during his
disqualification loss to Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson has been temporarily
suspended from boxing and his $30 million purse frozen.
During an emergency meeting today, the Nevada State Athletic Commission voted
5-0 to pursue a disciplinary hearing to determine sanctions against Tyson,
who twice bit the ears of Holyfield during the third round of last Saturday’s
World Boxing Association heavyweight title fight at the MGM Grand.
Tyson has agreed to waive his 30-day grace period to respond to the charges,
but must first submit the waiver in writing. Then the meeting must be posted
for three days before any action can be taken.
He continues to be under temporary suspension. His $30 million purse was frozen
today, pending his formal hearing.
By law, boxing commissioners can only fine Tyson up to 10 percent of his purse,
or $3 million. But they can suspend him from the sport of boxing for as long
as he lives if they choose.
A new federal law took effect today that forces other states to honor any
suspension that Nevada imposes.
“We’re obviously going to ask for some reason
and judgment” Tyson attorney Marty Keach said at the hearing.
“He also wants to fight again. That’s what he does for a
living. That’s what his whole life is based on,” Keach said.
Tyson did not appear at today’s meeting. But he made an impassioned plea for
forgiveness in front of media at the MGM Grand Monday on his 31st birthday.
The so-called “Baddest Man on the Planet” apologized Monday evening
to Holyfield for his shocking behavior during
Saturday’s title rematch.
“Evander, I am sorry,” Tyson calmly said. “You are a champion, and I respect
The former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world,
reading from a seven-page prepared statement, said he is receiving
psychiatric help and begged the commission not to ban him.
“Saturday night was the worst night of my professional career as a boxer,”
said Tyson, who spoke for 4 minutes, 16 seconds but took no questions. “I’m
here to apologize, to ask the people who expected more from Mike Tyson to
forgive me for snapping in that ring.”
Holyfield, meanwhile, accepted Tyson’s apology and said it was “a good
“The fans truly deserve it most,” he said. “They are the ones who didn’t
get to see a full show.”
Holyfield said Nevada officials should hand down a stern penalty.
“Whatever punishment they give him will show what kind of commission we
have,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It has to be something to
make a statement; otherwise, other people are going to be doing the same
Tyson stood alone at the podium as promoter Don King and co-managers John Horne
and Rory Holloway watched from the shadows near the room’s back entrance. None
Tyson singled out several others for
apologies, including the Indianapolis judge who sentenced him to prison for
raping Desiree Washington in 1991.
Tyson attempted to
explain his rationale for viciously gnawing off the champ’s right upper ear and
then chomping on Holyfield’s other ear. Tyson,
sporting stitches over his right brow,
said Holyfield intentionally head-butted him in the first and second rounds.
“I cannot tell you why I acted like I did, other than to say that when the
butting occurred, and I thought I might lose because of the severity of the cut
above my eye, I just snapped,” he said.
“I expect to pay the price like a man,” he said. “I expect the Nevada State
Athletic Commission to hand down a severe penalty, and I am here to say I will
not fight it.”
According to state laws, Tyson’s fine cannot exceed $3 million, but he can be
banned for life. Under a new federal boxing law that goes into effect today,
all other states must honor any suspension.
“I only ask that I not be penalized for life for this mistake,” he said. “I
will instruct my managers and promoters to waive any time restrictions so the
penalties can begin immediately, so that I can show the boxing fans of the
world that I am willing to accept what I have coming to me.
“To those of you who say that I should never fight again, I can only say that
I am just 31 years old, in the prime of my career. I have made it this far
because I had no other way.”
Marc Ratner, the commission’s executive director, did not return calls placed
to his office Monday.
Tyson also addressed the post-fight comments Horne made
to Showtime-SET, broadcasters of the pay-per-view event, about Holyfield’s
reaction to being bitten.
During the interview, Horne said “Holyfield jumped around like a little
Said Tyson: “I also have told everyone associated with me that I will not
stand for any more of the nasty and insulting comments made to Evander
Holyfield and his boxing team.”
After thanking the media for listening, Tyson was whisked away to
a waiting limousine, where he rode off with King, Horne and Holloway.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS contributed to this article.