The promotion for the August 26th boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor really ramped up a few weeks ago with a four-city press tour. The two men jawed at and insulted each other mercilessly, and there were a few instances where many thought lines were crossed. One was an accusation of racism thrown McGregor’s way for multiple ill-advised statements and jokes.
It started with McGregor calling Mayweather “boy”, and asking him to dance in Los Angeles. It escalated in New York, where McGregor responded to the racism claims with a joke about being half-black that he admitted later “didn’t hit right”. Another was a comment he made in a Jimmy Kimmel segment about the “dancing monkeys in the gym” when asked about the movie Rocky 3.
He also didn’t exactly slow things down in the final stop in London, referring to Mayweather’s entourage outside the makeshift ring in Wembley Stadium as monkeys as well.
As expected, Mayweather was not a fan of any of this. He said that McGregor “crossed the line” with his comments during the tour. He broached the subject again in a recent interview with Stephen A. Smith on ESPN (transcribed by MMA Fighting):
“I just didn’t like when he called us monkeys,” Mayweather said. “I think that was totally disrespect. … He called us monkeys. I didn’t like it. It didn’t push a button to make me jump out of my character and go crazy, but I didn’t like it.”
“I just thought about all our different leaders. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X. They went on the front line for me and my family and all my loved ones. Like I said before, this stuff still goes on. But I’m strong, I’m smart, patient. And come Aug. 26, I’ll be the same person — smart, strong, patient. And the same way he called us monkeys, we’re gonna see if he say that Aug. 26.”
When asked if the comments are motivation or this is just another fight, he decided he was going to fight for a cause:
“No different,” Mayweather said. “But this is for a cause. This is for the American people. This is for all the blacks around the world.”
Mayweather and McGregor meet in a 12-round, 154-pound boxing match in T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on August 26th.