The Nevada State Athletic Commission grilled Victor Ortiz about his unsportsmanlike conduct in the ring during his last fight and controversial post-fight remarks on Wednesday, but it voted unanimously to give him a one-fight license for his rematch with Andre Berto.
Ortiz and Berto, both former welterweight titleholders who fought one of the most action-packed fights of 2011, are now clear to meet in a much-anticipated sequel Feb. 11 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas (Showtime).
The commission, which voted 5-0 in favor of the license, questioned Ortiz at length about his flagrant head butt on Floyd Mayweather Jr. during the fourth round of their fight at the MGM Grand on Sept. 17. The head butt came moments before Ortiz was knocked out while continuing to apologize to Mayweather.
The commission, which insisted Ortiz appear to discuss the matter before ruling on his license, also reviewed a video of the incident. The panel then reviewed a video interview Ortiz gave to Maxboxing.com during a promotional news conference last month in Los Angeles to announce the rematch with Berto.
In that interview, Ortiz was asked about head butting Mayweather and he said that when he committed the foul, he was attempting to break Mayweather's nose. Later in the interview, Ortiz said he would do it again if a similar situation arose in a future fight.
"I was trying to break his nose, 100 percent," Ortiz said in the interview. He later added, "Although I take (the loss to Mayweather) as a learning lesson, a learning experience, next time it ain't gonna be that. If I'm gonna head butt you, I'm gonna break your nose (on the) next head butt."
During questioning by the commission, Ortiz was contrite about both incidents.
"I won't make any excuses," said Ortiz, who was accompanied to the hearing by David Itskowitch of Golden Boy and manager Rolando Arellano.
Of the head butt, Ortiz said, "I acted in a very inappropriate manner. I don't know what I was thinking. I want a chance to redeem myself and show you guys I'm not a dirty fighter and never have been. ... In the heat of the moment, I lost it. That will not happen again, I assure you."
On the remarks he made in the interview, Ortiz said that he would never try to break an opponent's nose with a head butt.
He said he made his remarks at the end of a long day and that "questions were coming from left and right" and that there were "repetitive questions. Frustration took over. It was a question that had been asked all day of me."
When a commissioner asked Ortiz how he would react if he felt like he was being fouled -- he claimed Mayweather had repeatedly elbowed him -- he said, "Next time, I'm not going to commit anymore fouls. ... I was very embarrassed by this whole thing."
Arellano also was allowed to address the commission, saying, "Victor takes full responsibility. There's no justification for those kinds of actions. This kind of conduct will never occur again."
Chairman Raymond "Skip" Avansino Jr. suggested the one-fight license, rather than the normal annual license.
"It would be very limited license where you have the opportunity to prove yourself," he said.
Commissioner Pat Lundvall also supported the one-fight license idea. "Do not let it happen again in this state," she said.
"I'm thrilled that he got the license," Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said. "When I talked to Victor, like he said in front of the commission, he apologized about what happened. I think sometimes you get carried away and you do or say things you regret. I know Victor is a clean fighter, not a dirty fighter. You can look at his record.
"This fight with Berto will be a hard and exciting fight, but it will also be a clean fight. And after the fight, the commission will see this was a one-time glitch for Victor and he will be issued a permanent license."
Although Ortiz received a license to fight Berto, the commission asked the Nevada attorney general's office and Keith Kizer, the executive director of the commission, to review the case and decide if there should be disciplinary action against Ortiz.
Kizer said he and the attorney general's office will decide whether to pursue a complaint in the next few days. If they do, the commission ruled that $100,000 will be withheld from Ortiz's Feb. 11 purse, pending the resolution of the complaint after the fight.
If everything goes smoothly for Ortiz in the fight, Kizer said he would be free to reapply for a full license without needing an additional hearing.
Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs) and Berto (28-1, 22 KOs) both were knocked down twice each in their first fight on April 16 at the Foxwoods resort in Mashantucket, Conn. Ortiz won a unanimous decision to claim the 147-pound belt he lost to Mayweather in his next fight.
--Ripped from ESPN