McGregor blasts Mayweather over racism accusation
If the entree is anything to go by, the main course will be something to savour.
Plenty of judges have their doubts about how Conor McGregor will fare in the ring against Floyd Mayweather two weeks from today, but fighting ability aside, the trash talk from both sides has been on point.
The UFC champion is refusing to be distracted in the build-up to the megafight he says will net him more than $US100 million even as a bitter dispute rages between he and former sparring partner Paulie Malignaggi.
The retired boxer was fuming after McGregor's camp released a photo of him on the canvas during a 12-round session between the pair and went on a media blitz to put forward his side of the story.
Malignaggi denied ever being knocked down, saying he was pushed by "dirtbag" McGregor.
UFC president Dana White yesterday released footage of their sparring session appearing to show a left-right combo from McGregor flooring the former pugilist, further muddying the waters.
McGregor addressed that controversy, along with accusations of racism, in an interview with MMA journalist Ariel Helwani.
ON MALIGNAGGI'S CLAIMS
Predictably, McGregor completely rejected Malignaggi's version of events, saying he actually did him a favour by not releasing any other photos that showed the American getting dominated.
"He's a guy that's at the end of his career. I get the feeling he feels the boxing game has betrayed him now he's retired - I don't know what he was expecting coming in here after speaking what he was speaking," McGregor said.
"I didn't disrespect him. I only released one picture. I didn't release no f***ing connecting to the face shots. I didn't release no footage of him getting slapped around because he got slapped around. He got badly, badly slapped around.
"The ropes kept him up multiple times, he was badly concussed, the sparring partners who were in the house that night were worried about him saying he was incoherent, he was stumbling. It didn't go good for him."
McGregor said he respected Malignaggi for giving his all inside the ring but is adamant his angry rants since their last meeting are the result of someone trying desperately to hide the truth.
"Respect coming in and trying his best but he got his arse whooped and he got his ego dinted and off he went out the door," McGregor said.
"In my mind it was concussion talk ... you think a certain situation happened and it didn't. I don't know, he got his arse whooped the poor boy.
"He's a disgruntled guy who got his ego dinted."
ON MAYWEATHER SUGGESTING HE'S RACIST
Mayweather said he would be fighting for "all the blacks around the world" after suggesting McGregor was racist for using the word "monkey" in an interview with US talk show host Jimmy Kimmel.
But the 29-year-old was offended by any such accusation, saying he never referred to his future opponent or anyone else in a derogatory way.
He said his words on the Jimmy Kimmel Show were taken out of context when he was trying to explain something else.
"I never labelled him a monkey or any African-American a monkey," McGregor said.
"I would not disrespect any race like that - he knows that too. If I was to label him after any animal it would be a rat.
"He is a f***ing rat and a weasel because that's what a rat and a weasel does, tries to manipulate words and create something that's not there."
McGregor also dragged up Mayweather's past - he's served time in jail for domestic violence crimes - as he attacked the boxing legend's integrity.
"It's a weak move on his part to even try and instigate something and something so sensitive but that's the individual he is. He's a man who beats his wife in front of his kids," McGregor said.
"All I can say is I never spoke those things.
"It's a weak move on his part, it's a weasel move on his part."