LONDON – There were several notable takeaways from the recent media tour between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather. Among them: McGregor isn’t very fond of Showtime Sports executive vice president and general manager Stephen Espinoza.
After McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) experienced microphone issues during the first stop of the tour this past Tuesday in Los Angeles, he held Espinoza responsible and labeled him a “weasel” during the Wednesday leg in Toronto. He doubled down at the final media event Friday in London, by which point Espinoza became visibly irritated.
Although Showtime released a statement denying any role in McGregor’s microphone struggles, it didn’t slow the Irishman from going off about it. Despite that, Espinoza said everything about the situation has come from McGregor’s side.
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“I’ve been caught in the crossfire,” Espinoza told MMAjunkie on Friday in London. “I wouldn’t call it a beef because it’s been somewhat one-way. It’s a little bit surprising, but Conor, maybe it’s just part of his mental game. Maybe it’s part of the preparation, maybe it’s the way he psychs himself up. It’s a little unusual. I thought I’d seen just about everything in my time in the sport, but I’ve been pulled into the promotion. So be it.”
With the promotional tour complete for the Aug. 26 fight between McGregor and Mayweather, which takes place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and airs on pay-per-view, it’s unlikely Espinoza will have any more encounters with the UFC lightweight champion until fight week.
McGregor’s tirade has caused his followers to label Espinoza as a “weasel,” as well, and while he’s not exactly fond of the whole thing, Espinoza said it’s not his position to engage in a feud with McGregor.
“Part of it you’d like to laugh it off,” Espinoza said. “I don’t know his true feelings, but it seemed pretty genuine. It hasn’t been done with sort of a wink, as I can tell. My base instinct, like most people, would be to respond, but professionally it’s not my place as an executive to get directly involved in the promotion. So, I’ll take the marks for now.”