BROOKLYN, N.Y. – It took three days of trading barbs and insults, but Conor McGregor finally crossed the line in Floyd Mayweather’s eyes.
In front of a raucous crowd of 13,165 at the Barclays Center in New York City, the Mayweather-McGregor world tour fully derailed, with the UFC star attempting to do damage control but instead striking a definitively racial tone during his time on the microphone.
“A lot of you in the media seem to be saying I’m against black people,” McGregor said, offering praise to Brooklyn’s own Notorious B.I.G. – the deceased rapper with whom he shares a nickname. “That’s absolutely ridiculous. Do they not know I’m half black? I’m half black from the bellybutton down.”
And then it got worse.
“Here’s a present for my beautiful black female fans,” McGregor said, gyrating his hips as Mayweather’s teenage daughter Iyanna stood just feet away on stage.
Thursday night’s debacle at Barclays Center wasn’t the first time McGregor flirted with racially insensitive comments this week.
On Tuesday in Los Angeles, McGregor taunted Mayweather, saying “Dance for me, boy,” causing some to suggest the UFC star is racist. On Wednesday in Toronto, he did it again.
When asked about his controversial comments on Thursday, McGregor vehemently denied that he had any sort of ill will towards any race, color or creed.
“I’m a multicultural individual,” McGregor told the media. “I don’t really see color in my eyes. I just wanted to say something and have a little fun with it. I wanted to address it and address it in my own little way. [To think that I am racist] is stupid and it’s ridiculous.”
While McGregor simply laughed it off, he clearly managed to strike a chord with Mayweather, particularly when it came to Thursday’s antics.
“I think that disrespecting my daughter, disrespecting the mother of my daughter, disrespecting black women, calling black people monkeys, it’s totally disrespectful,” Mayweather said.
“It’s total disrespect and he came out today and he did it again. You do not disrespect, I don’t care if it’s white women, black women, white men, black men, Asian, Latina or Latino. You don’t disrespect people. To get respect you have to give respect.”
Despite even Mayweather’s father, Floyd Sr., suggested McGregor’s “boy” comment on Tuesday was not racially charged, the ongoing promotional tour has now taken a racial turn that warrants deeper consideration in the undefeated boxer’s eyes.
“Racism still exists,” Mayweather told the media. “I was flashy, [wearing] mink coats, and you know I’ve been driving Ferraris and Bentleys for over 20 years.
“All this flashy stuff I was doing it was, ‘Oh, he’s arrogant, oh he’s cocky, oh he’s this, he’s that, he’s unappreciative.’ But then you take the same guy [McGregor], who’s in contact sports, steals my whole blueprint and he [gonna] do it and they praise him for it.”
Despite all of that, Mayweather, who will turn 41 later this year, offered an explanation for the 29-year-old McGregor’s tasteless antics.
“I have a diverse team, a diverse staff and when I was young I may have said some things that I shouldn’t have said when I was young but we live, we learn and you don’t say those things when you get to a certain age,” Mayweather said.
“When he gets older, he will probably look back and say, ‘I shouldn’t have said that.’”