The ASA said it received nine complaints about the ad, which appeared in two newspapers, and was concerned that it would encourage bettors to place wagers based on race.
“We acknowledged that the headline claim did not make a negative statement about Floyd Mayweather’s race and had endorsed him to win the match,” it said (via the BBC). “We also acknowledged that Floyd Mayweather had authorized the claim. However, we considered that readers would nevertheless be offended by the invitation to always bet on the outcome of a boxing match based on a boxer’s race, and the message that the boxing match was a fight between two different races.”
Mayweather beat McGregor in a 10th-round TKO and the ad cheekily made note of the fact that McGregor was a mixed martial arts fighter. “Because we checked,” the ad states, “and only one of them is a boxer.”
Paddy Power took a great deal of grief on social media when it tweeted an image of the ad.
“Like Wesley Snipes — who famously delivered the line — Floyd Mayweather is rightfully proud of his identity and, while the advert does reference his race, it does so in a manner which isn’t in any way derogatory or insulting,” a Paddy Power spokesperson said last month (via the Independent).
“It’s also a betting-related pun which references a roulette wheel. Because we’re about gambling — get it? If people don’t like it that’s entirely their prerogative. Floyd Mayweather is black and we’re suggesting you should bet on him because we believe that he’s going to win. We wouldn’t be paying out otherwise.”
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