Boxer Manny Pacquiao is apparently set to sign a new “multi-million” dollar sponsorship deal – after he was dropped by Nike over homophobic comments.
The Filipino boxer attracted controversy when he ranted about gay people: “Do you see animals mating with the same sex? Animals are better because they can distinguish male from female. If men mate with men and women mate with women they are worse than animals.”
In addition to being zoologically inaccurate, his claims didn’t go down too well with his corporate sponsors – with Nike nixing their deal with the boxer.
The company said: “We find Manny Pacquiao’s comments abhorrent. Nike strongly opposes discrimination of any kinds and has a long history of supporting and standing up for the rights of the LGBT community.
“We no longer have a relationship with Manny Pacquiao.”
However, losing his main sponsor doesn’t seem to have hurt Pacquiao too much – he claims another brand is ready to sign a new deal worth “millions”.
Business manager Eric Pineda told AFP “There are several [new deals] already now in the pipeline. They were actually negotiating with some already.”
He claimed that a “multi-million-dollar” deal would be signed with a company that will replace Nike as Pacquiao’s main sponsor.
Pacquiao, who recently reinvented himself as a conservative politician in the Philippines, had been a Nike athlete since 2006.
Although same-sex sexual activity is not a crime in the Philippines, same-sex marriage is not recognised, and gay couples are unable to adopt.
Last year, two same-sex couples applied for marriage licenses in the Philippines – only to have them rejected.
Pacquiao’s comments follow those of fellow boxer Tyson Fury, who recently caused controversyafter comparing gay people to paedophiles.
The boxer has simultaneously stood by his comments and denied being homophobic – while also claiming that sex with children was legalised by a fictional ‘Gay Rights Act 1977‘.