Conor McGregor has attracted controversy after telling a crowd of fans that he is “half black from the bellybutton down.”
The UFC star made the comments at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Thursday.
The New York City event was the third of four stops on a world tour designed to bring attention to the Irishman’s boxing rules fight with Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas next month.
Yet the attention McGregor has generated this week has largely been negative. The 29-year-old faced a backlash over his “dance for me, boy” jibes at Mayweather on Tuesday and Wednesday.
McGregor reacted to the accusations of racism in Brooklyn and told fans that “a lot of media is saying I’m against black people.”
He said: “That’s absolutely f*****g ridiculous. Do they not know I’m half-black?” McGregor then pointed at his stomach and to his groin. “I’m half-black from the bellybutton down.”
“Here’s a little present for my beautiful black female fans,” McGregor said while thrusting his groin into the air.
Floyd Mayweather said the comments and actions were racist. “This is an event where two fighters are competing against one another but saying a lot of racist things like today toward black women.
“I have two black daughters, a black mother, [and] of course I’m a black man,” Mayweather said. “[McGregor is] crossing the line… [and] losing a lot of fans by doing that.”
Speaking to journalists after the Brooklyn event, McGregor again denied that he was racist. “That doesn’t sit well with me,” he said. “I’m a very multi-cultured individual and I don’t have any ill feelings toward any — I don’t even see colour.
“I just wanted to say something and have a little bit of fun with it. I just wanted to play with it and address it in my own little way. It’s stupid, and it’s ridiculous is basically what I was getting at.”
The final stop on the Mayweather v McGregor press tour is at Wembley Arena in London on Friday.