A lengthy investigation is now underway regarding allegations made surrounding a quick stoppage.

BoxingScene.com has confirmed with the Nevada State Athletic Commission that Fredrick Lawson was never in jeopardy of not being cleared to fight this past weekend. Lawson was stopped in the opening round of a DAZN-aired main event versus Vergil Ortiz this past Saturday at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.

The bout was stopped at just 2:33 of the opening round, which was met with an immediate protest by Lawson and which sparked industry-wide criticism over referee Tony Weeks’ rush to judgment.

Two separate explanations were offered for the early exit, both attributed to Weeks. One was offered by DAZN’s Beto Duran, who stated on air that Weeks explained that he saw Lawson’s eyes roll back. Because there is no standing eight-count in Nevada, he made the decision to end the contest after Lawson failed to respond to Ortiz’s volley of punches.

A far more extreme view was offered on Sunday in a since-deleted Facebook post, where Weeks alleged that two separate tests taken on Lawson showed signs of an aneurysm. His statement claimed that it wasn’t until a third test when Lawson was eventually cleared to fight.

“What the public didn’t know [was] that prior to the fight they did a brain scan on him,” Weeks said in a Facebook post that was taken down mere hours after it was posted on Sunday, less than one full day after the fight. “[I]t came up that he had an aneurysm, and they did a test again and the same aneurysm came up. Another doctor was brought in and gave him the same examination and he tested negative for the aneurysm, so they cleared him to fight.”

Those claims have been refuted by Golden Boy Promotions—Ortiz’s promoter who presented Saturday’s show—and the Nevada commission.

“On January 6, 2024, a contest was held between Vergil Ortiz and Fredrick Lawson in Las Vegas, Nevada,” a Nevada commission spokesperson informed Boxing Scene in a provided statement. “The Contest was under the jurisdiction of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The health and safety of the unarmed combatants that compete in the State are paramount to the Commission.

“All contestants in the event were subject to full medical examinations and were cleared by medical experts to compete without restrictions.”

The stance taken by the commission mirrors a brief statement issued by Golden Boy Promotions on Sunday evening.

“Fredrick Lawson was cleared by a Nevada State Athletic Commission sanctioned doctor to fight on Saturday night. All other questions should be referred to NSAC [Nevada State Athletic Commission].”

NSAC officials were not in a position to further elaborate since the matter is being further explored.

Boxing Scene has learned that Lawson was tested at least twice. Neither test produced results that would have put the main event in jeopardy, although it is not uncommon for a commission to request follow-up testing if anything on an initial examination requires greater examination. There is also no evidence to support that Weeks was informed of the details surrounding Lawson's license approval—which would be a HIPAA violation—or that he was advised to pay extra close attention to the 34-year-old Ghana native now based out of Portland, Oregon. 

The development is similar to—though not the same as—the process that went into Sena Agbeko being denied a license ahead of a planned April 22 bout versus David Morrell. Agbeko was ruled out by the NSAC after an MRI exam produced a brain abnormality.

Agbeko was cleared by a neurosurgeon, after which promoter Dmitriy Salita petitioned the commission to approve his license application. Agbeko was licensed in May, not in time to keep the date but enough to avoid a nationwide medical suspension. His desired clash versus Morrell was rescheduled for December 16 in the last-ever Showtime main event, which Morrell won via second-round knockout at The Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The circumstances surrounding Lawson’s exams did not warrant such action, as the commission treats all matters on a case-by-case basis. The same applies for the performance of its licensed ring officials. 

“The Commission and its Executive Director will continue its ongoing practice of reviewing its official’s performance during and after an event,” stated the NSAC.

It is not yet determined the extent of any investigation into Weeks’ online claims, even after the post was removed from social media. It is not believed that the matter would be addressed during the next monthly commission meeting on January 23, but rather as its own separate hearing if it comes to that.

Weeks—a licensed referee since 1994 and once considered among the sport’s top officials—previously came under fire for his actions in the Rolando Romero-Ismael Barroso WBA junior welterweight title fight.

Barroso was well ahead through eight rounds before Weeks ruled a questionable knockdown call in the ninth round of their Showtime main event last May 13 from The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Barroso was prepared to continue but fell into the ropes, but appeared to block or slip most of the ensuing punches thrown by Romero. Weeks jumped in to stop the contest, a decision that was criticized by fans, media and even the Showtime broadcast team. 

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. X (formerly Twitter): @JakeNDaBox