Recently ‘retired‘ undefeated (49-0) boxing champion, Floyd Mayweather Jr, spoke about racial double-standards in fight media and among many fight fans, as it pertains to perception of premiere ‘brash’ Black fighters and their white counterparts. In doing so, he contrasted himself and fellow undefeated (24-0) retired women’s boxing champion, Laila Ali, from new MMA champion Conor McGregor (19-2) and now former women’s MMA champion, Ronda Rousey (12-1), saying the following…
On fight accolades:
But you look at things like this, Ronda Rousey, you know, I think she fought somewhere like 11 or 12 fights, which is not a bad thing. Laila Ali went undefeated and was dominating too. After Ronda Rousey fought I think 9, 10, 11 fights, it didn’t even take that long, she got all types of endorsements, movies, and everything. Laila Ali did the same thing in better fashion.
On ‘sex symbol’ marketing:
Ronda Rousey, she’s a good looking woman when she put it on. Laila Ali is a drop-dead gorgeous woman; I mean a naturally beautiful woman and can kick ass, but you never heard them [the media] saying when she had I think somewhere around 10, 11, 12 fights that she was the baddest woman to ever fight on the planet.
The above remarks are not so much about Rousey and Ali as they are about his view that the press and public praised Rousey for lesser achievements than Ali. Also, Laila Ali’s beauty did not garner her the level of crossover sex appeal in marketing as Rousey, including sports media coverage.
Regarding Conor McGregor’s hype vs. his own, Mayweather said…
And what’s so crazy, I don’t really know the McGregor guy; never seen him fight. I heard his name actually from one of the runners that works for our company; a little kid named Ken Hopkins, he’s a runner and takes care of a lot of the daily business. Whatever we need, he takes care of. He’s a cool little kid, I like him, and he does MMA. He told me about the guy McGregor. They say he talk a lot of trash and people praise him for it, but when I did 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.
Imagine the backlash if a newly crowned, young Black boxing champion posted an image of what appeared to be them wearing a ski mask, doing a drive-by shooting in an exotic car, as McGregor did in this Instagram post:
Mayweather did not discredit McGregor as a fighter. Nor did he suggest McGregor owes all of his success as a fighter to racism. Mayweather merely pointed out a racial double-standard that even his critics at Yahoo! Sports acknowledge exists, saying “There’s no denying double standards still exist in sports.”
They gave examples of the racial double-standard in sports media reporting between White and Black athletes. Yet… “That being said, what Mayweather’s spouting here sure sounds like sour grapes,“ they said.
So… he’s actually correct in his observations, but it “sure sounds like sour grapes?” That makes no logical sense.
‘Sour grapes’ by definition means “unfair criticism that comes from someone who is disappointed about not getting something.” Based on Yahoo! Sports rationale, pointing out unfair racial double-standards or discrimination is an “unfair criticism” if the discriminated party is disappointed by not receiving the “something” denied them by said unfair racial double-standard or discrimination. This logic eats itself and smacks of white privilege.
For his part, Conor McGregor–both the real and impostor–clapped back at Mayweather with responses that lacked self-awareness and historical context in a way that also validated Mayweather’s point about racism.
Not to engage in an oppression competition between the Irish countrymen and African-Americans, but a quick once-over of McGregor’s #4 does reveal either an ignorance on his part of what institutionalized racism actually is in the U.S., or a willful attempt to equivocate and obfuscate what racism is for the purpose of placating to the very racial bias being criticized.
4. Floyd Mayweather, don’t ever bring race into my success again.
Even Mayweather critics agree a racial double-standard benefits White star athletes like McGregor in a manner that eludes Black star athletes.
I am an Irishman. My people have been oppressed our entire existence. And still very much are.
Untrue. Though, the Irish have endured oppression in parts of their history, such oppression has not been for their “entire existence” and certainly does not presently persist in its past form.
I understand the feeling of prejudice. It is a feeling that is deep in my blood.
Understanding the feeling of ethnic prejudice in a predominantly White country does not qualify a White person to understand racial prejudice against Blacks in a predominantly White populated power structure.
There’s also the fact that while Irishmen were treated as second-class citizens in the United Kingdom, they were able to benefit from white supremacy in ‘the New World’ as slave traders, overseers, and catchers known as ‘paddyrollers.’ Which has roots in modern policing in the U.S.
In my family’s long history of warfare there was a time where just having the name ‘McGregor’ was punishable by death.
In Mayweather’s entire race’s history in this country there was and remains a time when just being Black was punishable by death, no matter what their name was–names imposed upon them by their slave masters.
Do not ever put me in a bracket like this again.
Mayweather didn’t put McGregor in that bracket; McGregor put himself in that bracket when he took personally Mayweather’s criticism of media racial bias. (The Irishman doth protest too much, methinks.)
If you want we can organise a fight no problem. I will give you a fair 80/20 split purse in my favour seen as your last fight bombed at every area of revenue.
Nonsense. Mayweather’s PPV “bomb” with Andre Berto was a $32 million dollar pay day for Mayweather alone. Which triples McGregor’s largest total gate: $10.1 million.
At 27 years of age I now hold the key to this game. The game answers to me now.
Perhaps as a big fish in the comparably little pond of the UFC promotion alone, “the game” may answer to McGregor–until P4P champion Jon Jones’ return or the Holm v Rousey rematch is on–but this is an absurd boast for McGregor to make at a top earning boxer, retried or active. The numbers to back this boast simple aren’t there. Mayweather spent more money on two cars than the entire 2015 top 10 UFC earners made all year.
Instead of exploring the charge of a racial double-standard in sports media, the headlines about this ‘beef’ mostly highlighted a White man (McGregor) ordering a Black man (Mayweather) to never speak of racism again in reference to his success. (Which wasn’t what Mayweather did.)
It was clear that many (mostly White) fight fans and media–though, there are exceptions–were not viewing the Mayweather/McGregor exchange as a mere war of words between two controversial cocksure champion pugilists. They used McGregor’s response to reject racism–i.e. white privilege–as a thing altogether. Based on the denials of a new white MMA champion, whose self-promotion comes across as a wannabe doppelganger of two Black boxing all-time greats: Mayweather Jr and Ali.
With Conor McGregor, we have a two-time loser fighter whose only been undisputed champion of UFC signed competition for one month being propped up by the media in the same airspace as all-time great Black boxers whose achievements are too many to list in one paragraph.
Mayweather alone has beaten 23 world champions; McGregor’s only beaten one UFC champion… last month. Yet, instead of being dismissed as a pretender to the throne, until he’s proven himself against more world class competition, many in the press and public compare him to Floyd Mayweather Jr, Muhammad Ali, and Bruce Lee combined! (Got privilege?)
I wish Conor McGregor well in all his endeavors as a fighter, but I won’t pretend that him being Irish makes him any less a beneficiary of white privilege in a white power structure undergirded by systemic/societal racism. Which benefits the majority White population at the expense of ‘minorities.’ Make no mistake: “the game” is rigged. #dontBSyourself