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Nevada commission approves lighter glove size for Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor
Conor McGregor gets his hands wrapped before a media workout last week.
Esther Lin, Showtime

The social media banter between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor has become a reality.

The Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) approved Wednesday a “one-time” waiver to allow Mayweather and McGregor to wear lighter gloves than boxing rules dictate for their Aug. 26 fight in Las Vegas.

The motion passed unanimously to let the matchup be contested with 8-ounce gloves, rather than 10-ounce ones that the regulations state.

The glove size argument started two weeks ago on Instagram when Mayweather posted that he wanted to give McGregor an advantage in the fight by reducing the glove size. McGregor, the UFC lightweight champion, wears 4-ounce gloves for MMA. McGregor responded that he didn’t really care either way what the size gloves were.

Both Mayweather and McGregor had representatives go before the commission Wednesday and explain why their respective fighters wanted 8-ounce gloves instead of 10-ouncers. Both reps said neither fighter was concerned that it would be a risk.

“On behalf of Team McGregor, we believe it’s fine,” said Michael Mersch, McGregor’s representative and a former UFC executive. “We don’t have any health and safety concerns on the behalf of our fighter.”

The commissioners, citing a lack of scientific evidence for their glove size rules dictated by weight class, all gave their approval. Chairman Anthony Marnell did say he was upset that Mayweather and McGregor had used the commission for promotion on social media.

“I do not like the Nevada State Athletic Commission being used as a pawn in a social media bout,” Marnell said. “Between these two, that part of this request pisses me off.

“This body is not the subject of two fighters … to create social media stir and other controversy to sell tickets and to sell DirecTV.”

Commissioner Skip Avasino, the commission’s most tenured member, said since it was a hybrid fight — an MMA fighter coming in and facing a boxer — they could grant a waiver for this occasion. But he recommend a scientific study that was first supposed to be done in 2006 regarding glove size.

The Nevada rules — and regular boxing rules — state that fights at 147 pounds and below can use 8-ounce gloves, but anything above 147 pounds the fight will be contested with 10-ounce gloves. Mayweather vs. McGregor is a 154-pound fight.

Mersch said McGregor is at 160 pounds right now and expects him to have no trouble making weight. Mayweather’s rep said the all-time great boxer will likely be about 150 pounds on weigh-in day Aug. 25.

The Association of Ringside Physicians (ARP) wrote a letter to the Nevada commission Tuesday, cautioning them to not change their rules unless they had scientific reason.

“Unless there is scientific evidence to support the view that such a change might improve the safety of the bout, we should strongly caution against allowing current regulations to be over-ruled,” ARP board chairman Dr. Raymond Monsell wrote. “To do so would also set a precedent for future bouts.”

Dr. J. Daniel Carpenter, a Nevada athletic commissioner, said he didn’t think there would be any “significant” health and safety issues for Mayweather and McGregor in this fight with a two-ounce change in glove size, because they are world-class athletes. But he wants the NAC to review the gloves worn and the distribution of padding in both of them.

“I think the health and safety of the fighters will be protected by our excellent refs,” Carpenter said.

Hall of Fame referee Robert Byrd was appointed as the Mayweather vs. McGregor referee by the commission Wednesday.

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