Everyone knew the press conferences between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather leading up to the fight on August 26th would be heated, but many believe McGregor has taken his trash-talking a step too far – and rightly so.
It began in the first press conference when McGregor said "Dance for me, boy!" to Mayweather while he was shadow boxing on stage. As many were quick to point out, there are a number of reasons why McGregor's statement could be viewed as being racist, whether that was his intention or not. Then a video posted by Jimmy Kimmel on Wednesday of Guillermo Rodriguez asking Mayweather and McGregor if they could beat Rocky Balboa in Rocky III in a fight raised similar concerns because McGregor said he couldn't remember if Rocky III was the film with "the dancing monkeys in the gym."
The Kimmel video has since been removed, but it's scenes like the one below from the movie that make what McGregor said so troublesome.
McGregor had an opportunity to address his comments during Thursday's press conference, which took place in Brooklyn, New York. Rather than clearing the air, however, he decided to make a joke out of it.
"Let's address the race," McGregor said. "A lot of media seem to be saying I'm against black people. That's absolutely fucking ridiculous. Do they not know I'm half-black? Yeah! I'm half-black from the belly button down."
McGregor then called out his "beautiful black female fans" before gyrating suggestively on stage.
Because that didn't come close to answering the questions many had for McGregor, a reporter gave McGregor an opportunity to clarify his comments after the press conference. In response, McGregor said he's a "very multi-cultured individual" and he "doesn’t even see colour." The reason he made that joke, he says, is he wanted to address it in his own way because the claims of him being racist are both "stupid" and "ridiculous." Had he chosen to say that onstage instead of the joke, he probably wouldn't be facing the same questions he is today.
Following the first press conference, Floyd Mayweather Sr. said McGregor wasn't being racist and that "this is a boxing match. I don't know what that got to do with no racists." Mayweather Jr. then followed it up by saying "racism still exists, but I try to take something negative and turn it into something positive" the next day. Mayweather also made it clear that he hasn't been offended by anything McGregor has said, although it seems like McGregor's comments on Thursday finally struck a nerve.
"I don't like the fact that he called blacks 'monkeys,'" Mayweather said. "I think that's totally disrespectful. But it's all about maturity. It's all about growth. And mentally, he still can be young. My thing is to go out there and do my job, and that’s to go out there and fight. Not to really worry about racism but racism still exists. We have to try to get past that and try to be positive. This is an event where two fighters are competing against one another. But saying a lot of racist things like today towards black women – you know, I have two black daughters, a black mother and of course I'm a black man."
"He's crossing the line, but I can’t really focus on that right now," Mayweather continued. “I’m here to do a job, and my job is to go out there and entertain. But he’s losing a lot of fans by doing that.”
The final press conference will take place at Wembley Arena in London on Friday.