With less than two weeks to go until the big fight, the Nevada State Athletic Commission announced at their regularly monthly meeting that they had appointed Robert Byrd to referee Floyd Mayweather’s August 26 boxing match against Conor McGregor.
The NSAC voted unanimously in favour of Byrd’s appointment, for a fight that is tipped to become one of the most lucrative in the history of combat sports.
The veteran referee will likely have a busy night.
Not only will the eyes of the whole world will be on the fight – with Dana White only this week revealing that he expects the contest to break all existing pay-per-view records – but it is unknown how McGregor will perform in the ring.
The Irishman is a boxing novice, and has been advised by a number of pundits and coaches to rough Mayweather up in the ring to prevent the American from utilising his now well-established defensive tactics.
But what do we know about the man in charge of the contest? Here’s a profile of Robert Byrd.
Who is Robert Byrd?
A 74-year-old former Californian police officer, Byrd is one of the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s most experienced and respected referees.
Byrd also worked as a referee and a judge in boxing in California, before he resettled in the state of Nevada.
The veteran referee is also very familiar with the sport of mixed martial arts on account of his wife, Adalaide.
She is a respected boxing referee herself and has also worked as a MMA judge since 2006, judging at high-profile events including UFC 196 (when Nate Diaz stunned McGregor) and UFC 202 (when McGregor seized his revenge).
What previous fights has he taken charge of?
Bryd has only taking charge of one previous Mayweather fight – the American’s unanimous decision win over Robert Guerrero in May 2013.
Those with exceptionally long memories may also recall Byrd taking charge of Wladimir Klitschko’s fight against Lamon Brewster back in 2004, which the Ukrainian shockingly lost. It was Klitschko’s most recent defeat until Tyson Fury outpointed him in 2015.
Who are the judges?
Clements has judged four previous Mayweather fights, with Italy’s Cavalleri judging just one – the Maidana rematch.
Why is Kenny Bayless not refereeing?
Bayless has taken charge of a number of Mayweather’s fights – including his contests against Berto, Pacquiao and Canelo.
However, in the months ahead of the fight Bayless was filmed offering his extremely negative opinions on Mayweather vs McGregor, declaring that he “did not see the point” in the super-fight.
Seriously? This is Kenny Bayless who works for the NSAC a potential ref for the fight. Sounds like he works for the crybaby Oscar De La Arum pic.twitter.com/7yLvORqMOQ— Dana White (@danawhite) June 23, 2017
That did not go down well with the Irishman’s camp. Dana White registered his objections to Bayless on social media, while McGregor commented at a media day that he wanted another referee to take charge of the contest.
“His views … he went public on what he thought the fight was,” McGregor told reporters. “He can’t be involved in the event.”
The NSAC appeared to listen to McGregor’s appeal. Shortly before their monthly meeting, their executive director confirmed that he had eliminated the possibility of Bayless being handed the fight.