Mayweather shocked the fighting world on Monday by announcing that he will take on Nasukawa, a 20-year-old undefeated kickboxing and karate specialist, in a fight with as yet unconfirmed rules in the Japanese city of Saitama on New Year’s Eve.
McGregor, who had been talked about as an option for Mayweather’s comeback fight, mocked the American’s choice of opponent in a foul-mouthed Instagram post – but in doing so he compared the 41-year-old boxing great to comedian Tucker and Nasukawa to legendary Hong Kong martial artist and actor Chan, in a reference to the pair’s collaboration in the ‘Rush Hour’ film franchise.
“What in the f*** is going on here?” McGregor wrote alongside a picture of Mayweather and Nasukawa posing together at the press conference to announce the fight. “Who’s this little p*** next to you? That’s mad s***. Like something out of rush hour 5 or something.
“Chris tucker and Jackie f***ing Chan back in this bitch. F***ing brilliant. Mad little b***ard you are Floyd. Fair f***s to you mate. No lie. F*** it.”
The post prompted a backlash online, with many pointing out McGregor's problematic equating of a Japanese kickboxer to a Hong Kong film star and others coming to his defence.
This is not the first time McGregor has made racially or culturally insensitive comments. Back in 2015 he called German fighter Dennis Siver a “Nazi”, and then goaded Brazilian opponent Jose Aldo by saying that in previous times “I would invade his favela on horseback and would kill anyone who wasn't fit to work”.
In the lead-up to his blockbuster promotion against Mayweather in 2017, McGregor was accused of racism after instructing the American during a press conference to “dance for me, boy”. When the implications of his words were put to him, he responded by insisting that he could not possibly be racist because he is “black from the bellybutton down”.
McGregor’s last fight was a comprehensive defeat by submission to undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in October. Once his victory was confirmed, the Russian vaulted from the octagon to attack members of McGregor’s camp, sparking violence inside and outside the arena, after the Irishman insulted his country and religion during the promotion for the contest.
As a result of the incident, both men are currently banned indefinitely by the Nevada State Athletic Commission pending a formal hearing in December.