LAS VEGAS -- The two top members of the Nevada Athletic Commission said Thursday they will vote to reject Mike Tyson's request to return to the ring unless he can explain his alleged assault of two men following a traffic accident in Maryland last month.
Claims by Tyson's lawyers that he is innocent of the charges simply aren't good enough if Tyson wants his license back, commission Chairman Dr. Elias Ghanem and Vice Chairman James Nave said.
"I would vote no if I have to vote today," Ghanem said.
Nave agreed, saying the position of Tyson's lawyers that he couldn't discuss the matter because of pending charges gave him little option in his vote.
"It's not going to work for me," Nave said. "How can we license him without knowing about it?"
The Maryland issue had seemed to fade into the background at Saturday's marathon hearing that ended when the commission ordered Tyson to take a batter of psychological tests before returning Oct. 3 for a vote on whether to give him the license stripped when he bit Evander Holyfield's ears.
Following the meeting, Ghanem said that if the psychological reports came back OK "then we have the responsibility to maybe, probably, license him to fight again."
Tyson agreed to the psychological tests and traveled to Boston to undergo them Thursday at Massachusetts General Hospital. But even as he was being examined by a team of three psychiatrists, his licensing was again thrown into question.
Tyson's adviser, Shelly Finkel, said both he and Tyson's lawyers had thought that the psychological testing was the only issue still to be resolved.
"It's pretty obvious to me that it's different than when we left (the commission hearing)," Finkel said. "It's different than what we were told."
Nave, though, said the Maryland incident was still on the table, and that commissioners thought that it went to the heart of Tyson's problems with anger management.
During Saturday's hearing, Tyson's attorney, Dale Kinsella, told commissioners that the former heavyweight champion would answer no questions about the Maryland incident because charges were still pending in the state.
Tyson is charged by two men with attacking them following a minor traffic accident in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Gaithersburg, Md. A preliminary hearing on the charges had been set for Oct. 2, a day before the commission hearing, but that has been scrapped and the case will head toward trial at a later date instead.
"I can't vote to move this thing forward without knowing more about Maryland," Nave said. "They can get a report from Massachusetts saying he's OK, but we still have to know about Maryland."
Finkel said he would have to discuss the latest development with Tyson's attorneys. He said Tyson should be judged innocent until proven guilty.
"I think what the commission is asking for is illegal," Finkel said. "It seems to me as if someone is playing a game."
Nave said the commission can't license Tyson without knowing whether he actually attacked the two men. Tyson's attorneys have said he is innocent.
"At some point they're going to have to realize that they have to answer that situation," Nave said. "This commission is not going to be embarrassed and approve him to fight and find out a month later he hit and kicked somebody."
Nave said he felt Tyson's advisers did not adequately answer many of the commission's concerns during Saturday's hearing and that he would have voted against Tyson then if it had come to a vote.
"If the vote came to yes or no last Saturday, I would have voted no," he said.
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