A knee, not ears, figures in the latest Mike Tyson controversy.
Tyson accused Orlin Norris of faking an injury to his right knee that resulted in their fight being declared no contest after one round Saturday night.
An instant after the bell rang ending the first round, Tyson knocked down Norris with a left to the head. Norris got up but said he couldn't continue because of the knee injury.
"He just hit me after the bell," Norris said. "I just went down the wrong way on my right knee."
Tyson saw it differently.
"He walked back to corner, that shows how twisted his knee was," Tyson said. "He must have twisted it getting on the stool."
Norris was taken to Valley Hospital Medical Center and an MRI showed he dislocated his kneecap, Dr. Flip Homansky, a Nevada State Athletic Commission physician, said Sunday.
"The MRI clearly shows the path his kneecap took when he went to the ground," Homansky said. "When he stood up it popped back in. There's no way he could have continued. He very well might need surgery."
A tape of the fight will be reviewed Monday, and the commission will hold a hearing Thursday or Friday, said Marc Ratner, the commission's executive secretary.
The punch was deemed accidental by referee Richard Steele.
"Because it was accidental it was ruled a no contest because it went less than four rounds," Ratner said.
Tyson was disqualified for biting Evander Holyfield's ears in the third round in the same MGM Grand Garden ring June 28, 1997. His license was revoked for 15 months.
"I don't want to fight anymore," Tyson said. "I'm tired of this crap."
He is supposed to fight Shannon Briggs in New York's Madison Square Garden on Feb. 26, but that fight has not been announced officially.
Norris' purse was released after the fight, but Tyson's $8.7 million was held pending the commission hearing.
Ratner said Norris' purse was released because there was no suspicion of a faked injury. The purse was $800,000, but Norris was paid only a little more than $200,000. The reduction stems from his manager's cut, an IRS lien and a court order putting some $264,000 in escrow because of a lawsuit filed by British promoter Frank Warren.
The five commissioners have the authority to change the no-contest to a disqualification if they are convinced the late punch was flagrant, Ratner said. But indications are the no-contest ruling will stand.
"Maybe the punch started when the bell rang," Ratner said. "When the punch was launched is very important."
Immediately after the knockdown, Steele lectured Tyson and then indicated he was penalizing him two points.
"If the punch was accidental why did he penalize Tyson," said Mike Marley, a Norris adviser.
"That's his right, it's his judgment," Ratner said.
Dan Goossen, presidenof America Presents, Tyson's promoter, contends Norris wanted no part of the fight.
"(Tyson) was hitting hard enough in the first round and Orlin Norris didn't want to get up," he said. "That's the bottom line."
Norris did get up and walked slowly to his corner.
"What you'll find with people with knee injuries is it takes time for the swelling to occur," Homansky said. "You cannot expect to see all you're going to see immediately."
When Norris' handlers said the fighter was hurt, Homansky was summoned to his corner.
Homansky then conferred with the commission, and the no-contest ruling was made. It was greeted with boos and curses, and both fighters were booed when they left the ring, Norris with an ice bag on the knee.
The displeasure of the 12,081 was strictly vocal. After the Bite Fight, violence rocked the casino, and it had to be closed for several hours.
©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed