Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Former champion Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. will clash this Saturday night in a special exhibition bout that is being sold as a fight between two legends but the rules make it sounds like something else entirely.
In fact, UFC president Dana White, who counts Tyson as a close friend while also doing business with Jones Jr. in the past, had no idea at the litany of rules in place for the upcoming fight.
California State Athletic Commission executive director Andy Foster previously laid out the rules for the fight, which he equated to a hard sparring session between the boxers.
While Tyson and Jones Jr. will not be required to wear headgear, the match will take place in eight, two-minute rounds with no judges sitting ringside to offer scoring. No knockouts are apparently allowed either, which might be harder to enforce but Foster made it clear that he sees Tyson vs. Jones Jr. as an exhibition and nothing like a real fight.
“They can exhibit their boxing skills, but I don’t want them using their best efforts to hurt each other,” Foster told Boxing Scene earlier this year. “They’re going to spar hard, but they shouldn’t be going for a knockout. This isn’t a record-book type of fight. This is not world-championship boxing right now. It’s not what this is. People shouldn’t be getting knocked out.”
Needless to say, White couldn’t help but laugh at the notion that two championship level boxers like Tyson and Jones Jr. could limit themselves in a fight, especially one that’s being promoted on pay-per-view for $49.95.
“It’s such a tough one to call,” White said at the UFC 255 post-fight press conference when asked for his prediction for the fight. “When’s the last time we saw either one of them fight?
“They’re not allowed to knock each other out? How do you enforce that? I’d like to bet that doesn’t happen. Can you bet on that?”
Of course that prompted White to discover that wagers will not be allowed for the Tyson vs. Jones Jr. match because technically it’s an exhibition and not a legitimate fight.
“You can’t even bet on this fight? I did not know that,” White said. “I don’t even know what to say to that.”
White was also amused after finding out that the fight won’t be scored and a winner isn’t expected to be announced at the end of the match.
“The hits keep coming,” White said.
From the sound of things, White’s interest in Tyson vs. Jones Jr. may be waning based around all the rules and regulations surrounding the fight. That said, considering Tyson is 54 and Jones Jr. is 51, it’s hard to imagine a full-fledged boxing match is the best idea for either fighter at this stage of the game.