It won’t go down as Conor McGregor’s finest hour.
On day three of the four-day Mayweather-McGregor World Tour, promoting the Aug. 26 boxing match in Las Vegas between the UFC lightweight champion and unbeaten boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr., McGregor chose to bring up the topic of race.
As is, the subject was barely beneath the surface over the tour’s first two days. McGregor had referred the African-American Mayweather as “boy” on each of the first two stops, in Los Angeles and Toronto. He also used the phrase “dancing monkeys“ to describe a scene in ‘Rocky 3’ in an interview for Jimmy Kimmel.
While those comments drew some attention, McGregor made sure it would be at the top of the headlines from Thursday’s event at the Barclays Center in the New York City borough of Brooklyn.
“Let me address the race,” said a shirtless McGregor. “A lot of people have me saying I’m against black people. That’s absolutely f*cking ridiculous.”
McGregor then made a crude reference inferring a stereotype about black men.
“Do they not know I’m half-black? I’m half-black from the belly button down.”
With the crowd, which had been vigorously pro-McGregor, getting noticeably uncomfortable, McGregor then declared he had “a little present for my beautiful black, female fans” and started dancing.
Mayweather soon thereafter took the mic and did not acknowledge McGregor’s race-related comments. But he didn’t exactly bathe himself in glory, either. Mayweather, who did jail time in 2012 on a domestic abuse charge, repeatedly referred to McGregor as a “b*tch,” which eventually ended up in a near-scuffle between the two.
During his scrum with reporters after the event, McGregor reiterated that he believes the idea that he has any racial animosity to be a ridiculous notion.
“That doesn’t sit well with me,” McGregor said. “I’m very multicultural, a multicultural individual, and I don’t have any ill feelings toward anyone. I don’t even see color, you know what I mean?”
McGregor said he was trying to diffuse the situation in an offbeat way.
“In Brooklyn, we’re in New York, being a Notorious BIG fan, I just wanted to play with it, and address it in my own ways,” McGregor said. “It’s stupid and it’s ridiculous.”
For his part, Mayweather believes McGregor crossed a line.
“Disrespecting my daughter, disrespecting the mother of my daughter, disrespecting black women, calling black people monkeys is totally disrespectful. I have a diverse team. A diverse staff. And when I was young, I may have said some things I shouldn’t have said because I was young. But you live, you learn and you don’t say those things when you get to a certain age because it’s all about growth and maturity,” Mayweather said at the post-tour press conference.
“Today, he came out today and did it again…I guess when he gets older he’ll look back and say I probably shouldn’t have said that,” Mayweather said.