Boxing

Dave Bautista on Manny Pacquiao: “I could no longer call him a friend.”

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Image for Dave Bautista on Manny Pacquiao: “I could no longer call him a friend.”

Actor and former pro-wrestler, Dave Bautista has had a beef with Filipino boxing icon and sitting Senator Manny Pacquiao that, obviously, was deeper than most in the public were aware.

Bautista, who is half-Filipino on his father’s side and once openly admired Pacquiao, had a Team Pacquiao tattoo covered up after the future first-ballot Hall of Famer made some very public “anti-gay statements.”

In a video interview with GQ, the “Guardians of the Galaxy” star talked about his tattoos and why he chose to cover up the one on his left forearm.

“It used to be a team logo,” he said, showing the space now sporting the likeness of a woman wearing skull face paint. “I was a part of a team of a person I considered a friend and someone I really looked up to. And then he later came out publicly with some anti-gay statements and turned out to be an extreme homophobe…So I had a huge issue with it. It’s a personal issue with me. My mom’s a lesbian, and I just could no longer call him a friend, so I had it covered up with this [skull].”

Bautista, of course, was referring to Pacquiao, who made disparaging remarks regarding homosexuality in 2016. Shortly thereafter, the actor decided to cover up his flaming meteor Team Pacquiao body art.

“If men mate with men and women mate with women, they are worse than animals,” Pacquiao was recorded saying at the time.

After a major backlash that would even cost him his Nike endorsement deal, the multi-division world champ issued an apology for the harsh tone of his comments.

“I’m sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals,” Pacquiao said in a statement issued to media. “Please forgive me for those I’ve hurt. I still stand on my belief that I’m against same sex marriage because of what the Bible says, but I’m not condemning LGBT. I love you all with the love of the Lord. God Bless you all and I’m praying for you.”

At the time, Bautista went public with a scathing response.

“F***ing idiot,” the former WWE champion responded in an interview with celebrity gossip site TMZ.

“I don’t think it’s funny,” he added. “Put it like this: If anyone called my mother an animal, I’d stick my foot in his a**.”

When asked at the time whether an apology would help, Bautista was direct and unforgiving, “You can’t come back from that, man. There’s no coming back from that.”

Pacquiao did, however, survive the controversy that his comments stirred up. He would go on to win his bid for the Filipino Senate and have several more years of box office success as a boxer. In 2018, he’d capture yet another world title when he stopped defending WBA welterweight titlist Lucas Matthysse in seven rounds. In 2021, he dropped a unanimous decision to Cuba’s Yordenis Ugas in a contest that was considered his last before entering into retirement.

Most recently, Pacquiao embarked on a run of exhibition fights, beating South Korean YouTuber and martial artist DK Yoo in December. He recently announced his signing with the Japanese mixed martial arts promotion Rizin and stated his plans to have at least one exhibition contest this year.

Bautista, meanwhile, is starring in the newly-released “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” movie and is currently on a publicity tour to help promote the film.

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Paul Magno has over forty years of experience in and around the sport of boxing and has had his hand in everything, from officiating to training. As a writer, his work has appeared in several online publications, including Yahoo Sports, Fox Sports, FightHype, Max Boxing, Boxing.com, Inside Fights, The Boxing Tribune, The Queensberry Rules, and Premier Boxing Champions. You can reach him at: [email protected]