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Suspended California matchmaker sees hypocrisy in Nevada’s approval of Mayweather-McGregor bout

At the same meeting Wednesday where it approved Aug. 26 as the fight date for what hours later became Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor, the Nevada Athletic Commission upheld an 18-month suspension of a Southern California promoter over missteps including flawed matchmaking.

“You can’t fight City Hall,” said Roy Englebrecht, who promotes a regular Fight Club OC card at the Orange County Fairgrounds. “I shook my head, turned to see people giving me that look like, ‘What’s going on?’

“Money talks in our business. And this is a good case. Because [Mayweather-McGregor] is the best money fight for Las Vegas.”

Bob Bennett, the executive director of the commission, criticized Englebrecht’s matchmaking practices in California and said the punishment was deserved because Englebrecht falsified documents while trying to win approval for an early 2016 fight for former world champion Zab Judah.

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Bennett dismissed the suggestion that hypocrisy was at play, saying he “can clearly articulate why Mayweather-McGregor is an approvable match,” while he said the top reason for Englebrecht’s discipline is that he “forged Zab’s name in two different places, forged a fictitious Social Security number and checked off a box saying Zab didn’t owe any child support … that’s totally unheard of.”

Yet, while Bennett rehashed Englebrecht’s transgressions while arguing during the meeting that his suspension should be upheld, commissioner Dr. J. Daniel Carpenter urged the panel to consider Englebrecht’s 30 years of service in the sport, calling the handling of the promoter “heavy handed.”

“My dealings with his matchmaking has been less than desirable, to be professional about it,” Bennett said. “There’s some other things I question his integrity about.”

Englebrecht noted that the California State Athletic Commission continues to let him go about his business. This week, he sold Fight Club OC, to the national minor-league mixed martial arts organization Alliance MMA.

“The California commission is not going to give you anything derogatory about him because he’s a staple in California,” Bennett said. “He’s a consistent challenge, and the guy for me was a complete nightmare in approving matches.”

Yet, by approving the date and declaring Mayweather-McGregor “approvable,” Bennett has left himself some explaining to do in Englebrecht’s eyes.

“I sit here today still shaking my head over Bob Bennett’s comments. He has never been to one of my shows, and I’ve done nearly 300,” Englebrecht said. “I don’t know how he can comment on my matchmaking. He can call the chairman of the California commission and one of his top referees, John McCarthy, too.”

Mayweather, boxing’s 49-0 former pound-for-pound king, and McGregor, the UFC champion who will be making his pro boxing debut when the two meet at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, must both still submit medical evidence to acquire boxing licenses in the state. But Bennett said he has already devoted significant research to clear McGregor for a fight that could generate $500 million in gate and pay-per-view sales and millions more for the Las Vegas economy.

“Of course there’s a financial aspect that I do not get involved in,” Bennett said. “The governor hasn’t called me. No pressure on me.”

Bennett noted that boxing promoters Bob Arum and Oscar De La Hoya also sought to stage a McGregor fight for their best fighters, Manny Pacquiao and Canelo Alvarez.

The Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas established McGregor as a 7-1 underdog.

“There’s a litany of reasons why it’s approvable: their physical characteristics. Conor’s the taller guy, has a longer reach, is a southpaw, clearly the younger fighter at 29 to Floyd at 40,” Bennett said. “Conor’s MMA record is 21-3, with 17 of those wins coming by TKO or KO. He’s clearly a striker, which is indicative of boxing skills.

“He’s got a granite chin, hits like a ton of bricks and has real boxing skills I’ve seen in reviewing video of him. And he’s a can-do kind of guy who has incredible confidence in himself with the will to win. Combine that with the physical attributes, that makes him a very dangerous opponent against a 40-year-old Floyd, who really … hasn’t had a knockout since Ricky Hatton 10 years ago.

“It might be the classic mad dog versus the matador.”

Englebrecht said, “I’m a little guy. For some reason, Bob Bennett wanted to make an example of me. I admitted what I did, and I’ve had officers call me to say, ‘All you were doing was moving this fight along.’

“But I’m a man and I’ll take my suspension.”

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimespugmire


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