Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor got their wish.
The Nevada Athletic Commission unanimously approved the combat sport stars’ request Wednesday to allow them to fight with 8-ounce gloves instead of 10-ounce ones when they meet Aug. 26 at T-Mobile Arena.
“I’m very happy with how the Nevada State Athletic Commission handled it,” McGregor said during his media conference call. “They clearly listened to both requests, and the overall approach from the referee to the judges, I think they were very fair.”
Mayweather and McGregor will fight at junior middleweight (154 pounds), which under NAC rules require fighters to use 10-ounce gloves.
“I think it will have an impact on the fight,” Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe said. “This is something both Conor and Floyd wanted. They both got exactly what they wanted. I’m confident there’s going to be a knockout.”
The commission voted to grant a one-time exception to the rule that was enacted in 2006 on the recommendation of an advisory panel on health and safety of the fighters.
“If you’re above 147 pounds, you wear a 10-ounce glove. That’s the rule,” commissioner Skip Avansino said during the meeting at the Sawyer Building. “But rules need to be reconsidered from time to time.”
Avansino’s motion to grant the one-time exception included stipulations that the gloves would be inspected by the chairman and executive director of the commission on fight night. The gloves also will be collected by the commission after the fight as part of a study on glove size and how it affects the health and safety of fighters.
A representative for Mayweather argued that the undefeated boxer is more comfortable using 8-ounce gloves because his most recent bouts were at welterweight. McGregor is making the jump from the 4-ounce gloves that are used in the UFC.
“There’s no way to define this fight other than unconventional,” commissioner Sandra Douglass Morgan said.
Also at the meeting, the commission appointed Robert Byrd as referee for the fight, and Burt Clements, Dave Moretti and Guido Cavalleri were unanimously approved as judges.
NAC chairman Anthony Marnell said the third man in the ring is far more relevant to the safety of the fighters than the amount of material covering their hands.
“The No. 1 line of defense is the referee,” Marnell said. “It always has been, and it always will be. We have the best officials in the world here in Nevada, and we pride ourselves on that.”
McGregor said there are pros and cons to using 8-ounce gloves.
“You got both athletes asking for the request,” McGregor said. “You got me coming up in ounces from what I’m used to. Look, what I fight with are 4-ounce gloves, fingerless gloves. It benefits both in certain ways.”
The issue of the glove size started when McGregor said Mayweather only wanted to fight at junior middleweight to avoid using smaller gloves.
Mayweather responded on social media by challenging McGregor to fight with 8-ounce gloves.
“Let’s fight in 8 oz gloves,” Mayweather said on his Facebook account this month. “Whatever advantage McGregor needs to feel more comfortable in the ring, I’m willing to accommodate. Let’s give the boxing and MMA fans what they want to see.”
Marnell expressed frustration at a rules debate playing out so publicly in what appeared to be an exchange at least somewhat driven by marketing.
“I do not like the Nevada State Athletic Commission being used as a pawn in a social media battle,” he said. “Frankly, it pisses me off. However, I’m willing to put that aside. I would just caution going forward that this body will not be used like this again.”
The bout, which will mark McGregor’s boxing debut, is expected to break records for live gate and pay-per-view buys.
Review-Journal writer Gilbert Manzano contributed to this report. Contact Adam Hill at email@example.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @adamhilllvrj on Twitter.