Mayweather-McGregor antics coming at the wrong time?
In real time, the world is less than two weeks away from what might be the largest pay-per-view fight in the history of all combat sports. The mega fight between Floyd “Money” Mayweather and “the Notorious” Conor McGregor will take place Saturday August 26 in Las Vegas, Nevada. As the fight gets closer we have gotten a little further away from the antics used on both sides to sell this fight.
It is, however, hard to forget the comments made on both sides during the media tour. Between McGregor’s racial undertones and Mayweather’s homophobic slur, the lead up to the fight seems to have more implications than the fight itself.
We are also four days after the events in Charlottesville, Virginia where alt-right protestors marched to retain the statue of Robert E. Lee. Counter-protests assembled from this. Dr. A.D. Carson, a University of Virginia professor, was in Charlottesville during this time.
Dr. Carson recently moved to Charlottesville to teach after receiving his doctorate from Clemon University in Rhetorics, Communication and Information Design. He is one of U-Va’s newest professors as Assistant Professor of Hip-Hop and the Global South.
Are the Mayweather-McGregor antics what we need? Dr. Carson weighs in. LISTEN BELOW:
“I went out there at the demonstrations and counter-demonstrations going on,” Carson stated.
“And I’m also, of course, receiving phone calls from my parents and messages from my parents saying ‘go home, stay home, don’t go out there.’ And my response is, ‘Well I live here. Am I supposed to just stay home the entire time I’m living here?'”
There are some fans of the upcoming fight that may not want to draw the following comparison: The events that took place in Virginia and the media hype surrounding Mayweather-McGregor are related.
“I think that the stuff that has gone on in Charlottesville and stuff that has proceeded it and the things that will come after it also spills into all arenas of our lives,” Carson explained. Read this article written by Carson entitled, “It’s not my job to absolve white friends of racism, but it can seem that way.”
“We are constantly dealing with the the ways that race and class and these divisions that people are articulating out here in Charlottesville, we’re dealing with the ways these things invade our everyday lives. And so you kind of have to think about the fact that of course some of these people that are out here are fight fans. Of course many of the people who came here are going back to wherever they live in Ohio and Chicago and Arizona and Utah and wherever else, because they all weren’t all from Charlottesville, and they are going to work everyday and they are your coworkers or your boss all of those things we need to pay attention to as well. This is not a thing that’s isolated to Charlottesville or this past weekend, but the ideologies that were brought to Charlottesville actually got on planes and got in cars and went back to their places in the rest of the country. And are probably going to show up in Boston this weekend or going to be in Berkeley the week after or wherever else these events are planned. And so there is no real isolation from it. So all of the other facets of our lives that we might think may be blocked off from this are not, in any way, blocked off from it.”
I was able to speak with Carson about the racial and homophobic statements made by both sides of the Mayweather-McGregor fight and the damage these statements can have. McGregor most notably was criticized by telling Mayweather to, “dance for me, boy.”
“To me its a matter of the way we might read that whenever we are engaging with it as an audience. And so if the audience is an American audience and I, as a black man, am hearing that happen or seeing that happen then I am going to interpret it in the ways that my context allows. And so when I hear that regardless of the context that Conor McGregor is coming from and how that word is deployed in those particular places I’m going to see that and hear that and think, ‘Oh. Okay. Is that what we are doing?’ And then when you add the other things that were said in addition to that then it gives me a read on if that makes it purely racial.”
In the discussion, I made mention that had McGregor stopped there, the situation may not have escalated. However, he then proceeded to discuss the racial undertone by stating that he, “is black from the belly button down.” Carson elaborated on the approach.
“I think that we sometimes get really caught up, and I’ve written about this before, that the idea that somehow intentions have something to do with the outcomes of or the the effects of racism. So the analogy that I use is if a person walks out of the grocery store unintentionally having put something in their bag or cart that they didn’t pay for you could say yeah they didn’t intend to steal it but they definitely stole it.”
“If you do something that is unintentionally racist, it doesn’t make it any less racist. It just means that you need to address whatever it is that you have done. Now if you address that thing that you’ve done and then it seems as though you’ve double down on the racism, now it seems as though you can’t help but be “unintentionally racist” which means that there is something thats far worse going on or something that needs to be addressed on a more intensive level because it seems as though this person can help but continue to offend in those certain ways.”
I think it’s fair to say that neither of these two fighters were correct in what they were saying. Mayweather also called McGregor a “f****t” which was largely viewed as being homophobic.
We are now locked into a fight where we could see a potential racist get knocked out by Mayweather. We could also see an amateur boxer take down an undefeated, and potentially, homophobic champion. But is this the way to sell the fight?
Do we, as a society, need to go to the lowest common denominator to help sell such a spectacle? Of course, I will be watching the fight. You will watch the fight. A large majority of people will watch this fight. Dr. Carson will not watch this fight.
Also, LZ Grandson, who collaborated with ESPN The Magazine spoke out against watching this fight. (Read article here)
“I saw what McGregor and Mayweather did. So did everyone. But if fans acknowledge that ugliness, its no longer OK to pretend that McGregor chances against Mayweather are the only thing that matters,” Granderson explained.
“I’m not watching Conor McGregor fight Floyd Mayweather because there is no satisfying outcome for me.”
I think it is worth noting, that while a large population of people will be viewing this fight, understand that the conversation about racist and bigoted terms should be in our discourse as things that are not okay, even if we are watching two the the biggest names in combat sports go toe-to-toe.