Even Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor are entitled to an off day.
After the first two stops on the World Tour to promote the Mayweather vs. McGregor super fight in August produced huge crowds and plenty of highlight moments, the third day in New York ended with a dramatic thud.
With over 13,000 fans packed into the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, the press conference was slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. local time but 90 minutes later there was still no sign of Mayweather or McGregor anywhere to be found.
McGregor ended up being the first fighter to arrive and he made quite the entrance without a shirt but wearing a long, white mink coat with a gigantic serpent on the back. Unlike the tour stop in Los Angeles where McGregor just trotted out on stage without much of an introduction, this time he enjoyed his signature UFC walkout complete with Sinead O’Connor and the Notorious BIG serenading him while a raucous crowd greeted him with cheers.
A few minutes later, Mayweather followed behind but the audience in Brooklyn wasn’t nearly as kind to him. Mayweather may be the betting favorite in the fight, but all three audiences in the different cities on the world tour have all been very much on McGregor’s side. UFC president Dana White doesn’t expect it to get much better on Friday in London.
“If he can’t get love in Brooklyn, he ain’t gonna like London,” White said before the press conference started.
Following a few executives who took time to speak, much to the chagrin of the audience that was already tired from sitting and waiting for over two hours for the event to start, McGregor was the first fighter to grab the microphone.
The UFC lightweight champion opened things up by quoting Brooklyn’s own Christopher Wallace aka The Notorious BIG, which got a loud reaction from the crowd but then things turned odd when McGregor decided to address claims of racism following the first two stops on the tour.
McGregor had repeatedly told Mayweather to “dance for me, boy”, which understandably left more than a few people uncomfortable with his choice of words. Because he was on stage trying to rile up the crowd, McGregor couldn’t just respond and apologize but instead he had to go even further over the top with what he said.
“Do they not know I’m half black?” McGregor shouted. “I’m half-black from the belly button down!”
Of course, McGregor later explained that he was trying to have some fun while responding to criticism, but his bombastic display on stage fell flat with the crowd.
From there, McGregor launched into a number of insults laced with profanity aimed at Mayweather and his normally creative, side-splitting humor turned into a comedy of errors with far more expletives than laughs.
To his credit, McGregor at least tried something new — no matter how much it didn’t work — but when it came time for Mayweather to speak, it was clear that he had largely run out of material.
Mayweather taunted McGregor about tapping out in his three losses in mixed martial arts — the same drum he’s been banging for the past three days — while touting how much money he’s made during his career. At one point, Mayweather decided to make it rain on McGregor with a shower of money to show off his wealth before discovering that it was all $1 bills.
At one point during the press conference, Mayweather randomly shouted “form Voltron” and his entourage stormed across the stage and surrounded McGregor and his team. Mayweather’s bodyguards were big but it didn’t take long for McGregor’s crew — including fellow fighters Artem Lobov and Dillon Danis — to step up to the challenge and for a moment it appeared that a brawl was about to break out.
Thankfully, security intervened and no punches were thrown, but it certainly looked like a fiery situation was about to explode.
The uncomfortable press conference finally came to a close with McGregor and Mayweather facing off again before each fighter hopped on a private jet bound for London for the fourth and final stop on the press conference takes place on Friday.
While the first two tour stops were energetic and filled with jaw dropping verbal assaults from Mayweather and McGregor, it felt like both fighters ran out of ideas on Thursday. Of course the format hasn’t helped either one very much considering Mayweather and McGregor have been handed a microphone and just told to talk for 10 straight minutes like some sort of spoken word rap battle.
Either way, Brooklyn didn’t get the best of Mayweather or McGregor on Thursday but it will be interesting to see if the fighters can recharge before facing off one final time in London on Friday before returning to their training camps ahead of the Aug. 26 showdown in Las Vegas.