Conor McGregor's racist comments which marred the global press tour to promote the $500m superfight with Floyd Mayweather Jr have been defended by Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White. The Irishman referred to several racial stereotypes across the events as the pair attempted to promote their long-awaited cross-code fight in Las Vegas on 26 August.
The two-weight UFC champion told Mayweather "dance for me, boy" on the opening two nights of the tour, before mentioning "dancing monkeys" while discussing Rocky III. McGregor attempted to defend his actions by stating he was "half-black from the belly button down" but that sought to further inflame relations between the two fighters.
Mayweather, 40, used a homophobic slur to criticise McGregor on the final day of the promotional jaunt in London, calling his upcoming opponent a "faggot". The exchanges were widely reported in the media during a week in which neither fighter enhanced their already questionable reputations.
But instead of condemning the pair's behaviour, White has played down McGregor's language and blamed the media for reporting his insults as being prejudice. "Let me put it this way," said White, who will earn a share of the revenue from the fight between the unbeaten American and the mixed martial arts star. "I've known Conor now for three, four years. I've spent a lot of time with him. There are people you hang around that you know are racist. You know it.
"Conor McGregor is not a racist, in my opinion. In no way shape or form do I think he was going out and trying to be a racist. I know the kid. He's just not like that. He doesn't treat people that way.
"I knew the media would pick up on it. The media loves stuff like that. To you guys, that's a home run. 'Oh, he's being racist,' and this and that. These two are going to try and knock each other unconscious in 30 days. I don't think there's anything you can say that's meaner than that."