Retired, undefeated boxer Floyd "Money" Mayweather Jr. has expressed his displeasure with top UFC fighter Conor McGregor in recent weeks, but UFC president Dana White believes the 49-0 fighter is off base.
According to Ben Thompson of FightHype.com, Mayweather believes racism has played a role in the notion that he is hated and McGregor is beloved, despite both athletes being brash and outspoken.
"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," Mayweather said. "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."
In response to Mayweather's comments during an interview with the Huffington Post (h/t David St. Martin of MMAFighting.com), White questioned the 38-year-old's view of the situation:
I think Floyd's way off there. I think that Floyd, because he's Floyd, he feels more hate than love. I think what Floyd doesn't realize is that I meet tons of people who hate Floyd and I meet tons of people who love Floyd. Floyd has fans and he has people who dislike him. McGregor has the same thing. Forget about race and all that other stuff. McGregor has a ton of fans and lots of people who don't like him. It's no different.
White also called Mayweather "delusional," and chalked up his status as a polarizing figure to attitude rather than race:
Me and Floyd go back and forth with each other all the time talking smack I guess. Whatever you want to call it. Floyd is a little delusional sometimes. When Floyd was 'Pretty Boy Lloyd' nobody really cared. When he became 'Money Mayweather' it created a lot of attention for himself. You're going to have people who love you and people that hate you, whether you're black or white.
Prior to White's response, McGregor took great issue with Mayweather's comments earlier in the month, and the Irishman shot back via a Facebook post:
Floyd Mayweather, don't ever bring race into my success again. I am an Irishman. My people have been oppressed our entire existence. And still very much are. I understand the feeling of prejudice. It is a feeling that is deep in my blood.
In my family's long history of warfare there was a time where just having the name 'McGregor' was punishable by death.
Do not ever put me in a bracket like this again.
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.
At 27 years of age I now hold the key to this game.
The game answers to me now.
A physical clash between Mayweather and McGregor seems unlikely with "Money" now retired and focused on Mayweather Promotions, but the war of words may be far from over considering their penchant for talking trash.
Mayweather may be out of the spotlight from an athletic standpoint, but he continues to find ways to make headlines and elicit reactions from others.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.