Do not pay attention to their words. Do not watch their fight.

By Andrew J. Pridgen

There are racists, there are homophobes, there are small-minded people, there are celebrities we worship just because they have more than us. There are talented people who are awful and there are awful people with no talent—and all these types of folk can have lots and lots of power and lots and lots of money.

There’s UFC champion lightweight Conor McGregor and boxing’s undefeated five-division champion Floyd Mayweather Jr., who are each of these things combined to perfection as if they were created in a lab and spit out of our collective conscience to shout out epithets and hate speech and silly rhetoric dangling from a syntactically challenged string in the name of promoting a likely altogether disappointing staged confrontation which will amount to nothing more than a showcase of spectacle to help the rest of us momentarily justify why we enable such awful behavior.

The pair is currently on a whistlestop tour for the jet set promoting their Aug. 26 bout in Las Vegas. The cross-discipline exhibition and will likely feature neither one of them taking shots anywhere equal to the verbal abuse they’ve already meted out behind the microphones all in the name of a dual nine-figure payday—hundreds of millions for Mayweather, which will bump his career earnings to more than $1 billion, and $127 million for McGregor.

Mayweather’s payday could balloon to a cool half-billion dollars if pay per view comes through and McGregor, with a guaranteed $75 million, will make five times whatever he’s made before scrapping in the octagon for UFC.

But whatever.

Their marketing efforts are smart if not full of staged atrocity. McGregor, taking the decidedly racist plantation owner with an Irish lilt approach when he keeps repeating to Mayweather, “Dance for me, boy”, to Mayweather’s counter, the use of the word “faggot” as if he was eleven years old on a playground in 1985. Not that that was acceptable then, but, you know, that’s the kind of space you’d have to be in, as a preteen thirty years in the past, to break out that word.

It’s disgusting and unacceptable, even for show—on both fronts.

As surrogates for a world now massively divided and completely lapsed in tolerance, patience and understanding of one another, a little more than a month from squaring off in a country now notorious for recently morphing from a place of empathy, logic and measured approach to one of intolerance, race-baiting and evil leaping out from behind the shadows with the practiced “don’t look at me” phraseology of white supremacists from the highest office of the land on down—this pair is doing nothing to repair the divide, to promote a cross-sport rivalry or mental and physical fitness.

Muhammad Ali, the outspoken pugilist and the greatest of all time, came home after defeating Poland’s Zbigniew Pietrzykowski to become the Olympic light-heavyweight champion in 1960 only to be refused service at a “white people’s” burger restaurant in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. From that point on, Ali used his platform to crusade for Civil Rights, protest the Vietnam War and campaign against Islamophobia in the US following the 9/11 attacks.

He never, ever did it using slurs, epithets or sensationalist rhetoric at the expense of another individual or race.

By contrast, this pair of carpetbagging opportunists are pandering to the worst in us and doing so on their worst behavior …and they will not be ostracized or criticized, but rewarded, tens if not hundreds of millions for doing so—the biggest payout ever for the most awful duo ever.

Makes sense.

May history revile them both and turn its back on this time we are living in. May we live to see this validation and rewarding of ignorance, incompetence and growing divide—not embrace—based on differences in race, religion and orientation, as a low point for humankind.

And may you not waste your money, time …or sense of decency on this pair. In the name of whatever shred we have left of whatever’s decent please don’t do it.

Andrew J. Pridgen helps run sister site Goner Party and is the author of the novella “Burgundy Upholstery Sky”. His first full-length novel will be released in late-2017.