Ex-boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. has made some interesting, well meaning, but probably misplaced claims about the state of racism in combat sports.
The recently retired boxer believes that fans react differently to similar antics when they come from people of two different races – holding up the popularity of UFC champ Conor McGregor as an example.
In an interview with FightHype.com, Mayweather explained that he believes McGregor is praised for his cocksure attitude – while he was always slated for his:
They say he talks a lot of trash and people praise him for it, but when I do it, they say I’m cocky and arrogant. So biased! Like I said before, all I’m saying is this, I ain’t racist at all, but I’m telling you racism still exists.
He also gave other examples of alleged racial bias in fighting, such as the attention paid to Ronda Rousey for her achievements, even though boxer and daughter of Muhammad Ali, Laila Ali ‘did the same thing in better fashion’.
Mayweather and McGregor have locked horns before with The Notorious famously describing how he would beat the boxer if they met in the ring, so they do have form, but racial bias has never played any part in their rivalry.
It’s fair to say that Mayweather’s unpopularity compared to Conor McGregor’s acclaim is much more likely to stem from the fact that he is actually a pretty unpleasant guy. He has many convictions pertaining to assaulting women and domestic violence and it’s probably that, rather than race having anything to do with it. Hope so anyway.