LAS VEGAS (AP) — UFC star Conor McGregor has completed the 25 hours of community service imposed by Nevada officials following a profanity-laced, bottle-throwing fracas with a rival during a pre-fight news conference last year in Las Vegas.
A document obtained by The Associated Press shows McGregor talked with children and teenagers in Dublin about physical, verbal and online bullying. But anti-bullying experts say his efforts may have been canceled out by the profanities he recently exchanged with his next opponent, Floyd Mayweather Jr., for which neither will be disciplined.
“He has been showing up earlier to our kids and teens classes, to interact with them and instill values of loyalty, commitment and camaraderie,” according to a letter dated Thursday and signed by McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh. “… He is undoubtedly the greatest role model for the kids in our gym, and for the people of Ireland of all ages.”
The Nevada State Athletic Commission disciplined McGregor and Nate Diaz after the men and members of their groups yelled at each other and eventually hurled water bottles at an Aug. 17 press conference ahead of UFC 202. McGregor’s original penalties consisted of a $150,000 fine and 50 hours of community service. That was reduced in March to 25 hours and a $25,000 fine.
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Last week, however, neither McGregor nor Mayweather held back on profanities and exchanged racially insensitive and homophobic remarks during a four-city promotional tour for their upcoming fight in Las Vegas.
Mayweather at one point used a homophobic slur during a tirade against McGregor.
McGregor twice told Mayweather “Dance for me, boy! Dance for me, son!” during the news conferences. That’s an insult to black men that dates back to slavery.
Per regulations, the athletic commission may fine or discipline an individual licensed to fight in the state of Nevada if the person behaves “at any time or place in a manner which is deemed by the Commission to reflect discredit to unarmed combat.”
Executive director Bob Bennett told The Associated Press on Friday that the athletic commission “in no way, shape or form condones homophobic, racist or inappropriate sexual comments,” but the board does not plan to take disciplinary action against Mayweather and McGregor “at this point.”
He said the board would investigate and consider appropriate action if unsportsmanlike conduct that could physically hurt someone took place in Las Vegas, such as when bottles were thrown during the McGregor-Diaz press event.
The remarks from Mayweather and McGregor were condemned on social media last week, including by LGBT activists and organizations.
The comments, which can be found online, are likely to be remembered — and possibly imitated — by children who see them, said Dorothy Espelage, a professor of psychology at the University of Florida and an expert on bullying.
“He has to recognize that these kids look up to him, that they will imitate him, and he needs to check himself,” she said, referring to McGregor. “He was a wonderful opportunity to deliver a message, but he can’t be speaking out of both sides of his mouth.”
Follow Regina Garcia Cano on Twitter at https://twitter.com/reginagarciakNO / More of her work can be found at https://www.apnews.com/search/ReginaGarciaCano