An ugly shadow has fallen over the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor World Tour as accusations of racism continue to swirl around McGregor. The brash Irish UFC champ has a history of dropping occasional racially charged comments in his smack with other fighters, referring to Nate Diaz as a ‘cholo’ and suggesting he’d put Brazilian slums ‘to the sword’ when he fought Jose Aldo.
He raised the hackles of some for calling Mayweather ‘boy’ during the first two Word Tour press conferences, but things really heated up earlier this week when a video surfaced that seemed to show Conor referring to black boxers in Rocky III as ‘dancing monkeys.’ That, and McGregor ‘addressing the race’ at World Tour stop number three had Floyd Mayweather saying he’d crossed the line.
Afterward, McGregor talked some more about the situation with the media, and he left a lot of the bluster that the World Tour has been known for behind.
“That doesn’t sit well with me, you know?” he told the media following the show. “I’m very multicultured, a multicultural individual. I don’t have any ill feelings towards anyone. I don’t even see color.”
“If anything, I wanted to squash that thing and have a little bit of fun,” he said in a separate interview. “That was a playful thing, I included the daughter, you know what I mean? It’s all fun on my part. If he is in that mindset, well then that’s his business. I don’t care. I don’t care. I know who I am, people watching know. If he’s upset and angry, well then … great.”
Asked what he thought of accusations that he’s racist, McGregor scoffed.
“That’s ridiculous. How does that make sense?” he asked. “That’s what’s annoying me. That’s why I wanted to bring it up today in a way, in a playful way. I mean, how could you say that when look at me, for f**k’s sake. I’m coming out rapping Biggie. I’m shouting, giving respect. I’m engaging in the entire — I pulled out Jay-Z’s album and all tonight for f**k’s sake. I’m a big fan of the s**t. I’m a big fan of the culture. He asked me what my playlist is and all I listen to is rap. So I’m just out there having fun. If he’s coming in here thinking I’ve disrespected him and he’s angry, so what? Deal with it.”
We’re not too sure if giving Biggie and Jay-Z props and listening to rap music gives anyone carte blanche to dip into the well of questionable racial comments. None of it is a great look for McGregor, who at best is willfully ignorant regarding the dog whistles he’s blowing or at worst cynically stoking some low key racism in the hopes it will sell more pay-per-views. When you’re making Floyd Mayweather, a convicted domestic abuser with more than his fair share of vile public comments, look like the good guy, then you’re obviously doing something wrong.
Let’s hope Team McGregor rights the ship and takes it out of this questionable territory before it turns his fight with Mayweather into the wrong kind of spectacle.