Manny Pacquiao has dealt a knockout blow to his Nike endorsement deal with his comments about gay people being "worse than animals." Nike announced on Wednesday that it has cut its ties with the boxer, who's running for a senate seat in the Philippines, over the "abhorrent comments," CNN reports. Nike "strongly opposes discrimination of any kind and has a long history of supporting and standing up for the rights of the LGBT community," the company said in a statement. "We no longer have a relationship with Manny Pacquiao." American promoter Bob Arum, who helped make Pacquiao a superstar, says he understands Nike's decision to ditch the boxer over his "reprehensible" remarks.
"His comments were made to a Filipino audience, where same-sex marriage is not as accepted as it is here," Arum tells ESPN. "But to people in the United States, his words can only be viewed as hate speech. If I was running Nike, I would have to make the same decision they did." Arum is still promoting Pacquiao's pay-per-view fight against Timothy Bradley on April 9, which is expected to be his last. Fellow boxing promoter Frank Warren tells the BBC that despite the remarks from Pacquiao and similar ones from British boxer Tyson Fury last year, homophobia isn't a big problem in the sport. "No matter what walk of life you come from there are bigots," he says, predicting the boxer has now "lost any type of sponsorship."