January 30, 2002 5:14 AM


From GT Staff and Wire Reports

The Nevada State Athletic Commission voted 4-1 to reject Mike Tyson's application for a license to fight in Nevada.

The board's decision thus kills a projected $150 million fight that was headed for the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 6 between Tyson and world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis.

The Lewis-Tyson fight is still being negotiated but the site will have to be outside the state of Nevada. The WBC has said it will sanction the fight.

Commission chairman Dr. Luther Mack cast the lone vote for re-instating Tyson. The votes against re-instatement were filed by commission members Dr. Tony Alamo, Dr. Flip Homansky, Amy Ayoub and Glenn Carano.

Tyson's disorderly conduct outside the ring since 1998 was the reason given for not re-instating the former heavyweight champ.

Tyson left the hearing minutes before the vote and his advisers said they weren't sure whether the Lewis fight would take place.

"I didn't think I was going to get a license, but (adviser) Shelly Finkel was forcing me to come anyway," Tyson said as he headed for his limousine.

When asked if he thought the fight with Lewis would take place, Tyson was not optimistic.

"No, it doesn't look like there'll be a fight. I don't know. I think Lennox is a coward. I'm going to fight him any time I see him in the street."

The proposed fight was to be a joint venture between Showtime and HBO and slated for the Grand Garden Arena pending approval of Tyson's license.

"We're disappointed that we won't be able to present this event in Las Vegas," said Marina Capurro, vice president of communications for Showtime.

Tyson is facing a rape charge in Las Vegas, which the local district attorney's office is currently deciding whether to prosecute.

Tyson can still apply for a boxing license outside the state of Nevada. But his denial here will influence many other Athletic Commissions to also reject Tyson. New York, for instance, has said it will honor Nevada's decision.

The Nevada Athletic Commission could have allowed Tyson's attorney to withdraw his application, but commissioners voted against allowing the withdrawal. The action was called "mean spirited" by Bob Faiss, Tyson's attorney.