Conor McGregor has drawn yet more criticism by claiming he can’t be racist because he is “half-black from the belly button down.”
The comment has landed the MMA star in further controversy, after he was criticised earlier in the week for making racially charged comments at press conferences in Los Angeles and Toronto.
McGregor is currently on a four-stop press tour with the American boxer Floyd Mayweather, to promote their light-middleweight fight on August 26.
The pair began the eagerly-anticipated tour in Los Angeles, with McGregor quick to land himself in hot water. While he watched Mayweather shadowboxing on the stage, he called out “dance for me boy!”, a comment with overt racial connotations in the United States.
The Irishman repeated the comment a night later in Toronto, leading to fresh criticism.
McGregor decided to address the allegations of racism while on stage in New York, on the third stop of the tour. But he made little attempt to dampen the growing row, instead making another contentious comment.
McGregor has landed himself in yet more controversy (Getty)
“All of the media seem to be saying that I am against black people,” he said while on stage at the Barclays Center. “But do they not know that I am half black? I’m half-black from the bellybutton down.”
The comment met with a mixed reception from the New York crowd, who had until that point been supporting McGregor loudly. Although many people cheered the comment, a smattering of boos could also be heard.
McGregor then added: “And just to show them that it is squashed, here is a present for my beautiful, black female fans.” He then proceeded to thrust back and forth on stage.
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McGregor, 28, was later quizzed on his comments at the rather more restrained news conference that followed the event, and staunchly defended himself against accusations of racism.
“That doesn’t sit well with me,” McGregor said when asked about the allegations being made against him. “I am a very multi-cultured individual. I do not have any ill feeling toward anyone. I do not even see colour.
“I just wanted to say something that I could have a little fun with. I just wanted to play with it and address it in my own little way. It’s stupid and it’s ridiculous, that’s basically what I was getting at.”
The two men are on a four-stop media tour (Getty)
Both Mayweather and his father, Floyd Mayweather Snr, had defended McGregor against accusations of racism for his “dance for me boy” comments. “Racist? I don’t know what that has got to do with race,” Floyd Sr. told TMZ Sports moments after the news conference at the Staples Center,
But after the New York press event, Mayweather moved to criticise McGregor for his choice of language, which he described as “totally disrespectful”.
“He came out today and did it again,” Mayweather said.
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“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 must give respect.”
Mayweather added that racism is still exists in boxing and complained at double standards within the industry.
“Racism still exists,” he said. “I’ve been flashy for years. … I’ve been driving Ferraris and Bentleys and Rolls-Royces for over 20 years. All this flashy stuff, I was doing. ‘Oh he’s arrogant. Oh he’s cocky. He’s this. He’s that. He’s unappreciative.’
“But then you take (another) guy that’s in contact sports, steals my whole blueprint, and he go and do it, and they praise him for it. These are the things that we don’t see.”