Paulie Malignaggi Quitting as Conor McGregor Sparring Partner over Video

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 4, 2017

Paul Malignaggi in action against Danny Garcia during their welterweight fight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, on Saturday, August 1, 2015. Garcia won via TKO in Round 9.  (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
Gregory Payan/Associated Press

Paulie Malignaggi confirmed to ESPN.com's Brett Okamoto that he will no longer be Conor McGregor's sparring partner as McGregor prepares for his Aug. 26 fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Malignaggi told Okamoto the stories regarding his sparring sessions with McGregor have "become a fiasco" and a "circus":

"I wanted to be part of this event, but I didn't want to become the story, and that's what this has turned into. I won't release any information about his game plan or what he's working on—I wouldn't do that. But this has become a fiasco. It's a circus.

"And I do want that sparring video released. The UFC's PI definitely has that video. I understand it can't come out now, but Conor, if you have any balls, release what really happened."

Malignaggi had taken issue with photos from his sparring session with McGregor that appear to show the UFC star having the upper hand over the experienced boxer.

On Twitter, Malignaggi asked McGregor and UFC to unveil the full footage from the session:

Paul Malignaggi @PaulMalignaggi

I came to help this camp out, not to be exploited, now your gonna get the truth though. Post FULL UNEDITED VIDEO FROM TUES night #Ethics

UFC photographer Brandon Magnus shared a photo in which McGregor is landing a left jab on Malignaggi:

Malignaggi also didn't like a pair of pictures posted by the Twitter account @ConormcGregor5, which imply McGregor landed a knockdown on Malignaggi. Malignaggi tweeted that it was a "pushdown":

Conor McGregor News @ConormcGregor5

Ghostie https://t.co/ViSNzrWV0J

On Wednesday, the 36-year-old told Okamoto that he was surprised to see a crowd assembled around the ring to watch his sparring session with McGregor:

"Usually all sparring is private. I show up at the UFC headquarters and [former owner, Lorenzo] Fertitta is there. [UFC president] Dana White is there. So, I'm thinking these guys are thinking they'll catch me right off the flight, set me up for him to look good in front of his audience. I didn't like that. I kind of went in with a chip on my shoulder."

Malignaggi had praise for McGregor, describing the UFC lightweight champion as "getting better and better" and "implementing more and more of what they want to do in their game plan."

Sparring with Malignaggi was undoubtedly good preparation for McGregor ahead of his Aug. 26 fight. The fact Malignaggi will no longer work with McGregor will do little to help him close the gap on the unbeaten Mayweather.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.