State sports authorities in Nevada today voted unanimously to revoke the 31-year-old former champ's license for that gruesome bit of ear-nibbling business in his June 28 heavyweight title bout with Evander Holyfield. Tyson can appeal the ban in a year--and every year after that, until he's reinstated. But as one official warned: "Unless the commission changes its mind, this would be a permanent revocation."
The state Athletic Commission also hit Tyson with its maximum fine--10 percent of his $30-million fight purse, or $3 million.
Tyson's partner in pay-per-view bouts, Showtime Event Television, was playing rope-a-dope today on its future with the troubled boxer. There was no comment, no discussion on how the ban affects its contract with the fighter. SET's coverage of Tyson-Holyfield II (starring the ear bites) was the biggest-selling pay-per-view event ever.
While it was Nevada officials who pulled Tyson's boxing license, a new federal law would require all states to enforce the ban. And even overseas may not be an option for the man whose future in the ring once seemed so bright. While there's nothing stopping Tyson from getting fighting gigs abroad, he may not be able to leave the country because he's on probation for a 1992 rape conviction.
If Tyson finds himself boxed in, he has no one to blame but himself. The champ said as much last week, when he apologized to the world--and Holyfield--for losing it in the bout and tearing into his opponent's ears. That misstep moved Nevada boxing officials to declare Tyson today a "discredit to boxing"--a bracing statement, considering some of the everyday weirdness that goes on in the sport.
Tyson was not present at today's hearing. He was last seen arriving at New York's JFK Airport in the company of two bodyguards about six hours before the hearing.
The pleading of Tyson's case today was left to his attorney. Oscar Goodman gave it his best shot, selling Tyson to the commissioners as a "gentleman" and an individual of "dignity."
And then Tyson got KO'd anyway.