Bob Bennett is the head of the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) and he was a part of the group that allowed UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor to have a boxing license.
The NAC chief says that it was McGregor’s win over Nate Diaz at UFC 202 that convinced the NAC to give him a boxing license.
"I reviewed UFC 202 which was a perfect indicator of Conor's boxing abilities. Then I gave renowned trainer Virgil Hunter a call. I said: 'I heard Diaz was a sparring partner for Andre Ward?’ Virgil confirmed that Diaz has sparred with Ward at least 12 times. As we know, Ward was a world super-middleweight champion and now a light-heavyweight champion. Virgil believes that Diaz could have been a world class boxer if he hadn't become an MMA fighter. Virgil holds Diaz's boxing ability in high regard. But then look at UFC 202 when McGregor fought Diaz, predominantly striking. McGregor knocked down Diaz in the first and second rounds. McGregor took some hellacious shots to his jaw from Diaz, and they didn't move him. McGregor fired a number of shots that hurt Diaz. Watching McGregor in that fight did contribute to me finding [the Mayweather fight] approvable,” Bennett said to Sky Sports.
McGregor being granted a boxing license to fight Floyd Mayweather was a controversial call, as the MMA fighter had never competed as a pro boxer before.
Besides the bout against Diaz at UFC 202, the NAC head also did a lot of his own research on the UFC Lightweight Champion.
"I did my own research in addition to watching him spar. This is an approvable bout - he's the taller, longer, stronger, younger fighter. He has a 21-3 record in MMA with 18 TKO or KO wins,” says Bennett.
Conor McGregor versus Floyd Mayweather takes place on Saturday, August 26 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.