Wednesday afternoon in Toronto, Canada, UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor and undefeated prizefighter Floyd Mayweather appeared onstage together for the second time, on the second stop of their world tour. Conor McGregor once again spoke first at the event, and this time took shots at Showtime Executive Stephen Espinoza, who he blamed for having his mic cut-out during the first press conference.
Espinoza then fired back at McGregor in an interview with MMAFighting after the event:
“I’m not sure whether it’s part of the show,” Espinoza said. “I’m not sure how much is a put on. It seemed more than that. It certainly wasn’t a wink and a nod. And it wasn’t backstage saying, ‘Hey, I’m doing it for the good of the show.’ The reality is you see what some athletes — whether combat sports or otherwise — the need to invent enemies and invent opponents to motivate. He’s obviously got that in Floyd. If this is part of his process of imagining the world against him and motivating himself, then that’s his his process.
“I’m a big boy. It’s certainly not somebody that has come after me as a network. It did take me a little bit by surprise, but it’s part of the entertainment value of the McGregor business.”
“He’s a grown adult, I’m a grown adult. If that’s the way he wants to conduct himself, we as the network or me personally are not gonna change it. It’s one of the things that you appreciate Floyd for. Floyd certainly has his flaws like we all do, but there’s always been a sense of professionalism in everything he’s done. That isn’t always the case with some of his opponents.”
Espinoza may not necessarily let the incident go quietly however:
“I’d like to sleep on it, but it took me by surprise,” he said. “At the end of the day, I’m a big boy and I still got two more opportunities to respond if I need to.”
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/13/2017.