UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor today apologized for his use of a homophobic slur in an exchange caught on tape, saying he meant “no disrespect” to the LGBT community.
During a taped appearance on “The Late Late Show,” McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) told Ryan Tubridy he was overwhelmed by emotion following the loss of longtime teammate Artem Lobov (13-14-1 MMA, 2-4 UFC) and let his words get away from him.
“I witnessed him lose a fight in a potential career-defining or a career-ending fight in a manner where the opponent was stalling and running away, and I was upset,” McGregor said. “I was whispering in his ear, and I was speaking on that, and I said what I said. I meant no disrespect to nobody, to anybody in the LGBT community.”
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McGregor defended his record with the LGBT community, citing his efforts to legalize gay marriage in Ireland.
“I was campaigning for that,” McGregor said. “It’s another one where things just get blown out. Any chance they get, they love to throw me under the bus. I just have to say sorry for what I said and try and move on from it.”
It’s not the first time McGregor’s words have landed him in hot water.
During a promotional tour for his blockbuster “Money Fight” opposite boxing kingpin Floyd Mayweather in August, McGregor drew heavy criticism for racially tinged language and defended himself as “very multi-cultural and a very multi-cultured individual.”
McGregor’s latest remarks came to light when video was posted of his walk backstage with Lobov at UFC Fight Night 118. Comforting Lobov after a unanimous-decision loss to Andre Fili, the UFC champ said, “I thought you were going to sleep him. All I’m saying, he’s a (expletive). I never knew he was a (expletive).”
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The exchange came after McGregor was warned by referee Marc Goddard for attempting to corner Lobov in violation of the rules, prompting UFC officials to restrain him during the fight, which took place at Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland.
Lobov later hinted at retirement following his loss. McGregor said the experience of watching his friend and teammate was deeply upsetting, to the point where he couldn’t control himself.
“I was watching a fighter, a sparring partner, a friend, a brother of mine who was giving his health – his body health, his brain health, everything – to help me prepare for fights to give my brain health and my body health to entertain the public,” McGregor said. “That’s the fighter I was going to watch and support.”
For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 118, check out the UFC Events section of the site.