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John Gotti III blasts Kenny Bayless, Florida commission over Floyd Mayweather melee: ‘They’re not going to make Floyd look bad at any cost’

John Gotti III doesn’t believe he got a fair shake against Floyd Mayweather Jr.

“The Gottis are public enemy No. 1, I guess forever,” Gotti told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “So they’re going to do everything they can to throw dirt on me.”

Earlier this month, Gotti and Mayweather competed in an exhibition boxing match that ended up an all-out debacle. Not long into the bout, Mayweather and Gotti began taunting and cursing each another, all the while engaging in roughhouse tactics not generally allowed inside the squared circle.

In the sixth round, referee Kenny Bayless had had enough and halted the exhibition. That decision set off a near-riot as Gotti attacked Mayweather anyway and the two fighters’ entourages stormed the ring.

To hear Gotti tell it, the whole thing is Mayweather’s fault.

“Early in the fight, Floyd was taunting my whole crowd and section heavy, saying what he had to say, and I said to Floyd in the fight, ‘It’s like that?’ and he made it very clear it’s like that,” Gotti said. “The minute I started doing it back to Floyd, it became a problem. The minute I started taunting him back, cursing him back and engaging, all of a sudden it became a problem.

“But early on, Kenny Bayless didn’t say two words to Floyd. It wasn’t right, it wasn’t fair. It is what it is, I’m not playing victim, we had fun, but there should have been fair regarding that.”

“Kenny Bayless came over to my corner and Floyd’s and warned us the round before and said, ‘You guys have to stop cursing at one another, otherwise, I’m going to call the fight,’” Gotti added. “So the next round comes out and we pick up right back where we left off. Every time we’re close quarters, even when I’m covering up, I’m popping out of my shell and cursing at him, he’s cursing at me. So the final exchange, I throw a four-punch combination, and I get in the clinch again, I get my forearm in his throat, and he does it back to me, and we start cursing again, and Kenny Bayless just waves the fight off. It’s unheard of. ...

“I acted on emotion which, looking back on it, was stupid because people could have gotten hurt that had nothing to do with it. But I just went off my emotion, and I went after him. I feel like they robbed me of my best rounds, to be honest. I was getting my second wind, I started to settle in a little bit, feeling good, and they called the fight. It didn’t make sense to me whatsoever. I was disappointed.”

For reference, the Association of Boxing Commissions rules do allow referees to stop bouts due to unsportsmanlike behavior. While Gotti believes that he and Mayweather’s verbal jousting was relatively harmless, Bayless clearly disagreed.

But Gotti believes there was an ulterior motive to the stoppage.

“100 percent [Bayless called it because I was having success],” he said. “I was touching him a little bit. I was getting closer to him. In the sixth round, we clinched, and I kissed Floyd on the cheek and told him, ‘That’s it. You have nothing left. You shot your wad early in the fight.’ I was comfortable. I felt his power diminish, his speed was gone, I started letting my hands go and I was catching him, and conveniently they call the fight off. I’ve never seen that in all the years I’ve been watching boxing. ...

“That’s Floyd’s guy. They’re not going to make Floyd look bad at any cost, even if it’s a little bit. Of course he was protecting Floyd.”

Bayless isn’t the only one Gotti is upset with, though. Gotti also believes the Florida commission has it in for him after he was suspended for six months over the incident, which he believes the regulator did to cover for its own failings.

“We’re working on something now, to lift that suspension,” Gotti said. “I honestly don’t know what the commission’s role was in all this. They were there for a photo op, to be honest. They didn’t do their job one bit. They had one job to do. They couldn’t even secure the ring before the fight. The fight was delayed by like five minutes because people weren’t in their seats. It was complete chaos. There was no security, no cops there, that could have got really, really bad. It is what it is. I’m just glad nobody got hurt.”

“They kind of used me as a scapegoat, the commission,” Gotti added. “I’m sure they didn’t want to be liable for anybody getting hurt, or lawsuits, so they kind of used me as a fall guy. It is what it is. But I’m confident [the suspension] with get lifted.”

Gotti said he and his team are working to have the suspension lifted, and he hopes he will rematch Mayweather later this year. In the meantime, he is mostly concerned with making sure people don’t get the wrong idea about what went down.

“The thing that upset me was the way these articles were describing the fight, it wasn’t the case,” he said. “It painted me like this sore loser who just attacked Floyd out of anger. I did attack out of anger, but it wasn’t the case during the fight.

“Floyd talked a big game during that fight, and the fight didn’t bother me, it was the words that got me. Once you start saying certain things, it becomes personal for me. That’s why I attacked him. But it is what it is. We moved on from it, we’re adults. It’s business.”

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