Liam Neeson has claimed “little leprechaun” Conor McGregor has given Ireland “a bad name”.
The Irish actor shared his views on the UFC during an interview with Men’s Health, where he criticised McGregor specifically.
“UFC I can’t stand,” Neeson said. “That to me is like a bar fight. I know the practitioners are like, ‘No, you’re wrong – the months of training we do…’ Why don’t you just grab a beer bottle and hit the other guy over the head? That’s the next stage of the UFC.”
He added: “I hate it…. That little leprechaun Conor McGregor, he gives Ireland a bad name. I know he’s fit, and I admire him for that. But I can’t take it.”
Neeson has faced scrutiny in the past following comments in interviews. In 2019, the actor recounted a story where he admitted he once roamed the streets looking for a “Black bastard” to kill after learning a close friend had been raped by a Black man.
Recalling the incident to the Independent, Neeson said: “I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by somebody – I’m ashamed to say that – and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some ‘Black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him.”
The actor later apologised during an appearance on Good Morning America. “I’m not racist, this was 40 years ago,” Neeson said. “I was brought up in the north of Ireland. The Troubles. The ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s. There was a war going on in the north of Ireland. I had acquaintances who were involved in the trouble. The bigotry. One Catholic would be killed, the next day a protestant would be killed. I grew up surrounded by that, but I was never surrounded by it.”
He added: “We all pretend we’re all politically correct. But sometimes you just scratch the surface and you discover this racism and bigotry, and it’s there.”
Last year, Neeson made a cameo appearance in Donald Glover’s Atlanta which tackled his racism controversy. In the episode, Alfred Miles aka Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry) meets Neeson at a bar called ‘Cancel Club’ during a hallucination sequence.