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Mike Tyson To Ref WrestleMania

January 16, 1998

LAS VEGAS (AP) _ Mike Tyson will return to the ring in March as a referee in Wrestlemania XIV, but will not wrestle himself.

Spokesman Sig Rogich said Friday the former heavyweight champion will not wrestle because he does not want to violate the spirit of his ban from boxing imposed in July by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

``There’s no way in the world he will wrestle because he does not want to jeopardize his relationship with the Nevada boxing commission,″ Rogich said.

Rogich said Tyson’s role would be both a good guy and a bad guy.

Tyson will declare his intentions Monday night on the federation’s wrestling program, ``Raw is War,″ on the USA Network.

``The World Wrestling Federation and Mike Tyson even separate are a tremendous force. Put them together and they are pretty much unstoppable,″ Jay Andronaco, federation spokesman, said in an early burst of promotion for the event.

WrestleMania XIV will be held at the FleetCenter in Boston March 29.

Although still barred from boxing, Tyson has begun training for a possible rematch with Evander Holyfield, saying he doesn’t want to go down in boxing history just as a fighter who bit off a chunk of Holyfield’s ear in their championship meeting last June 28.

Rogich said Tyson viewed the Wrestlemania appearance as an opportunity to get in shape. He said the former champion has always enjoyed wrestling.

Rogich declined to say what Tyson was getting paid for the appearance, but a source who asked not to be identified said the WWF is ``paying a fortune″ for him.

Tyson was stripped of his license after the June fight but could regain it in July if Nevada boxing officials vote in his favor. If not, he will be out of the ring at least another year.

Holyfield has said he would not rule out a third fight against Tyson, who became the youngest heavyweight champion in history in 1986 before his career went into a tailspin with a loss to Buster Douglas, a rape conviction and prison term.

Tyson said he is training in Phoenix so he can be prepared physically and mentally if he gets his license back.

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