Mayweather-Pacquiao: Nichols, Beadle credential situations cause stir

Mayweather-Pacquiao: Nichols, Beadle credential situations cause stir
Rachel Nichols interviewsRockets All-Star guard James Harden during NBA All-Star weekend on Feb. 13. (Elsa Garrison / Getty Images)

The craze for tickets to the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao fight had a related frenzy: the push for a media credential.

On Saturday, two high-profile reporters, CNN's Rachel Nichols and HBO's Michelle Beadle, posted on Twitter that they were being denied credentials to the fight by Mayweather's team.

Nichols then posted her interview with Mayweather from September, in which she grilled him over his domestic violence past and his opinions on the Ray Rice beating of his now-wife.

Kelly Swanson, head of Swanson Communications that distributes fight credentials for Mayweather Promotions, showed The Times Nichols' approved fight credential form that was stamped Friday afternoon.

The credential, Swanson said, was ready for Nichols to pick up today. She added that CNN had the liberty to replace Nichols with another reporter if it saw fit, but Swanson said she had received no such request.

Sports Illustrated reported it saw a copy of an arena seat chart from Tuesday that didn't have Nichols on it, but Swanson said the chart was changed before credentials began to be distributed Saturday morning.

Turner Sports released the following statement from Nichols on Saturday:

"After asking tough questions of Floyd Mayweather on my program, I was not offered press credentials to cover tonight's fight. In an email dated April 23, I was told I would only be credentialed for the run-up events through the week, but in bold, italic letters the email stated 'you do not have any access Saturday to any services or events.' A CNN producer revisited the issue with the Mayweather camp on April 29, confirming to Mayweather's publicist that I would be in Las Vegas, and the publicist replied that I would still be denied a fight night credential. I was told the same thing when I arrived at the credential office in person on May 1, by two separate officials, in front of several other people. It doesn't surprise me that now, after facing significant backlash, the Mayweather camp has reversed its position. But despite this, and other outside parties generously offering me their seats, I will not attend the fight. I will also not let fear of retaliation prevent me from asking the tough questions the public deserves answers to in the future."

As for Beadle, a Showtime spokesman said the network denied HBO's request to record a segment of its "The Fight Game" while the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight was live.

Showtime and HBO are jointly televising the pay-per-view broadcast at a cost of $99.95 in high definition.

"We weren't denying the correspondent, we were denying the program, which we would do for any similar television program that would ask to record during our show," Showtime spokesman Chris DeBlasio said.

An HBO spokesman said the matter was "being resolved," and said Beadle could attend the fight.

Meanwhile, the circumstances that led to a credential withheld from USA Today reporter Martin Rogers are highly suspect.

Rogers in November wrote a front-page sports story from interviews with Josie Harris, the mother of three of Mayweather's children, and one of the children, who criticized Mayweather Jr.

Mayweather received a 90-day jail term for domestic abuse, which he served in the summer of 2012.

Swanson said Rogers was denied because "his credential request was late," and because the paper was given five credentials in all.

"l'm proud of everything I wrote," Rogers told The Times on Saturday. "I stand by all of it. I'm not sure how the situation is going to play out, but whatever happens I'm going to enjoy the fight."