UFC champion Conor McGregor has apologised for using homophobic slurs to describe another fighter.
Late last month, McGregor was caught on camera saying to fighter Artem Lobov about his opponent Andre Fili: “Do you know what I’m saying? He was a f—-t, and everyone knew he was a f—t.”
In an interview on Irish TV program “The Late Late Show,” McGregor apologized for using the slurs and said at the time he was trying to console “a sparring partner, a training partner, a friend, a brother of mine” after a loss.
“I witnessed him lose a fight in a potential career-defining or a career-ending fight in a manner where the opponent was stalling and running away, and I was upset,” he said.
“I was whispering in his ear, and I was speaking on that, and I said what I said. I meant no disrespect to nobody of the LGBT community. I didn’t mean no disrespect.”
McGregor defended himself by saying he’d campaigned to legalize marriage equality in Ireland in 2015.
“You’d swear I was screaming at two people of the same sex kissing. I campaigned when we were trying to get same-sex marriage legalised,” he said.
“It is another one where things just get blown out and … any chance they get they love to throw me under the bus.
“I’d like to say sorry for what I said and try to move on from it.”
Speaking to Reuters, he added: “I’m human, I slip up, I say stupid things every damn day. All I can [do] is hold my hand up and apologize if anyone was offended.
“The word used to describe that opponent was incorrect and very offensive, and I can apologize for that.”
McGregor has also been accused of making racist comments towards opponents in the past, most recently in the leadup to his August fight with Floyd Mayweather.
He responded at the time by saying he’s “a multicultural individual” without any “ill feelings towards anyone.”
In 2015, McGregor tweeted about marriage equality: “We’re all human here at the end of the day — regardless of color, gender, sexuality. Any of that. It’s all meaningless. We all deserve the same rights.”