John Gotti III believes referee Kenny Bayless was protecting Floyd Mayweather when he called off their clash inside the squared circle earlier this month.
Most fight fans weren’t even aware that Mayweather was scheduled for a scrap on June 11, let alone that it was against the grandson of notorious New York mob boss John Gotti. However, fans were quickly clued in when a video of their post-fight brawl went viral and become one of the most talked about incidents across social media.
Less than a minute into the sixth round of their exhibition bout, referee Kenny Bayless abruptly stopped the contest and disqualified Gotti III after the mixed martial artist continuously clinched and refused to break away when prompted. Speaking on the controversial finish, Gotti III was adamant that Bayless was looking out for Mayweather and called for the stoppage in an effort to protect the boxing icon as, according to Gotti III, the tide began to turn during the later rounds.
“People can say I’m crazy, but I was touching him a little bit,” Gotti III told Ariel Helwani during an appearance on The MMA Hour. “I was getting closer to him, and in the sixth round, I kissed Floyd on the cheek and basically told him, ‘That’s it. You have nothing left. You shot your wad early in the fight,’ and I was comfortable. His power diminished. His speed was gone, and I started letting my hands go. I was touching him, and conveniently they called the fight off. In all the years of watching boxing, I’ve never seen that done before.”
Gotti III doubled down on his statement, suggesting that Bayless was only there to keep Mayweather from looking bad inside the ring.
“That’s his guy. He goes with Floyd every fight. The only fight he wasn’t the ref was the whole Logan Paul fight, and Logan clinched a lot in that fight. That’s Floyd’s guy, and they’re not gonna make Floyd look bad, even if it’s a little bit. Of course, he was protecting Floyd,” Gotti III claimed.
John Gotti III claims he was disqualified because referee Kenny Bayless was "protecting" Floyd Mayweather 👀 #TheMMAHour
"His speed was gone, and I started letting my hands go and I was catching him. Then conveniently they called the fight off."
— MMA Fighting (@MMAFighting) June 21, 2023
John Gotti III Confirms There Are Already Ongoing Talks of a Rematch
With the viral finish and their bad blood brought to a boiling point, it’s only logical that the two parties would look to run it back and capitalize on the free publicity. Asked about a potential rematch, Gotti III confirmed that there are already ongoing talks of a sequel.
“We’re in talks right now, actually, to do something. We’ll see where it goes. From what I understood, after the fight, it was the most Googled thing in the whole world. Floyd’s a businessman,” Gotti said. “Floyd wants to capitalize on that, and he wants to make money. So if they want to do it again, I’ll be here. I promise you, this time, I’m going to come out guns blazing as soon as that bell rings. We’re gonna fight now.”
Gotti also revealed that October is the targeted timeframe for the rematch. With that being a mere four months away, Helwani questioned how that would work considering the six-month suspension he received after instigating the post-fight brawl with Floyd Mayweather and his team.
“I’m confident it’s going to get reduced. My team is on it right now to get that lifted, but I don’t know how that works if I’m suspended in Florida (where the fight took place) or if I’m suspended everywhere. I don’t know how that works, but I think it’s going to get lifted.”
Most American athletic commissions will honor the suspension handed down by another state in an effort to ensure everyone is on the same page. And, of course, to prevent fighters from skirting the system by competing in another state after being slapped with a suspension elsewhere.
— Jed I. Goodman © (@jedigoodman) June 21, 2023
While Mayweather vs. Gotti III fell pretty much under the radar, their viral post-fight fracas and the chaos that ensued backstage between team members is sure to spike the buyrate should the two parties book a rematch while the incident is still fresh in the minds of fight fans.
Would you pay money to see a rematch considering how things played out the first time around?