NEW YORK — Floyd Mayweather and his team seemed to have about enough of Conor McGregor’s talk, which has dipped into an uncomfortable racial zone, in Brooklyn. Mayweather chastised McGregor for some of his comments to the media Thursday night, saying he should not disrespect black people in that way.
UFC president Dana White does not think McGregor nor Mayweather have crossed any line — if there is a line at all — in their trash talk during this world tour, though, he said Friday on the Showtime Sports broadcast from London.
“I think they've both had their moments, they’ve both had their moments,” White said. “It’s funny when people say they’ve taken this thing [too far]. These guys are gonna try to knock each other unconscious in about a month and a half. The verbal warfare is a part of the fight, too. But this is a fight — not a croquette game. This part of the deal.”
Mayweather and McGregor, the UFC lightweight champion, will fight in a boxing match Aug. 26 in Las Vegas. The two have been on a world tour since Tuesday, hitting Los Angeles, Toronto and New York on Thursday night. London is the final stop on the tour Friday.
The talk and tension has heightened since the first day at Staples Center. It almost broke out into a brawl on stage Thursday night at Barclays Center.
“The reality is what’s going on here is just as much of the fight as the fight itself,” White said. “The mental warfare game, these are two of the best ever to do. Floyd has yet to meet his match physically or verbally. What this is all about is trying to get in each other’s heads and that’s why you’ve seen this thing escalate to Los Angeles to where we are now.”
Mayweather didn’t like McGregor bringing his daughter into the trash talk Thursday. And McGregor brought up the whispers about racially inappropriate words throughout the tour during the Brooklyn show. He joked that he couldn’t be racist, because he’s black “from the belly button down.” The Irishman then did a vulgar, gyrating dance for his “beautiful black female fans.”
Like Mayweather, Showtime Sports vice president Stephen Espinoza was not a big fan of the histrionics.
“I thought it was interesting that he felt the need to address that when he came here on his own volition,” Espinoza said of the racial issue. “That surprised me. Along the way, yeah he’s made some mistakes. Do I think they were pre-meditated? No. It’s tough, I’ve come close to making some comments off the cuff that could have been interpreted the wrong way.
“I don’t excuse it at all. Because particularly of his context. He’s trying to get Floyd’s ire up. In that context, you’re not going to get the benefit of the doubt. You’re not gonna get people to understand if you make a mistake.”
White, McGregor’s promoter in the UFC who has been on the tour throughout, doesn’t think any of it is a big deal. It’s just the fight game, according to White. All is well in his eyes — unless things get physical.
“As long as that doesn’t happen,” White said, “I’m good.”