In an interview last week, UFC fighter Conor McGregor downplayed the incident at Game 4 of the NBA Finals earlier this month when he punched the Miami Heat’s mascot Burnie, knocking him to the ground, Fox News reported.
The mascot stepped out during the third quarter of the game between the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat wearing a boxing robe and oversized boxing gloves. McGregor then landed a left hook into the mascot, knocking him to the floor where he punched Burnie again as the startled Miami crowd booed.
The UFC star then pulled out the pain relief product and attempted to spray Burnie as several people dragged the mascot off of the court.
But the promotional stunt went wrong.
After taking the two punches, the person inside the Burnie suit had to seek medical attention. According to the Miami Heat, the Burnie performer was given pain relief (not the spray-on kind) and was resting at home.
In an interview with reporter Adam Glyn last Tuesday, McGregor said he spoke with the Burnie performer and all was well between the two of them, Fox reported.
McGregor told Glyn that the punches were part of a skit and “all is well.” He said he spent time with the Burnie performer after the skit and “everything is great.”
“It was all part of the show,” McGregor added.
Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra praised the man inside the Burnie costume for his “toughness” and said he should have been the one to “take the first swing.”
The Miami Heat would not identify the performer inside the Burnie costume. However, Coach Spoelstra described him as a “tough” guy who “can take a punch and get back out there,” Fox reported.