Roy Nelson has earned a reputation as a joker. But on Monday, word came that he has cast his hat in the ring for one of his profession's most serious positions.
The active UFC heavyweight, long known as a gadfly to MMA's power brokers, recently applied to be the executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. With so many events occurring in Las Vegas, leading the state's regulatory body is one of the most influential and challenging jobs in combat sports.
Though Nelson is known for a light-hearted personality, the Las Vegas native's comments seemed to hint that this bid is genuine.
"This is my hometown, it's where I was born and raised, so I feel it's a way for me to help further the sport," Nelson said in the interview with Daniels. "...Of course I want to help get the sport cleaned up, but helping Nevada financially and bringing more revenue in is one of the primary goals I have. The others involve making sure we have better officiating and better fighter safety."
Nelson's comments allude to some of the most persistent challenges facing the sport, including topics like brain injuries and inconsistent judging and refereeing.
It is anyone's guess whether Nelson is serious about the bid. But if it is serious, it is probably fair to say Nelson would enjoy the support of the general MMA public.
A constant fan favorite as a fighter, Nelson is now 37 years old and a loser of two consecutive contests. A heavyweight with an extremely powerful right hand, Nelson (19-9) appeared flat in each of the last two fights, decision losses to Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier.