Flashback to the chaos of Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather, with Paul Malignaggi orbiting the pandemonium like a satellite. The fight world moves so fast that their controversial sparring sessions and the infamous knockdown/pushdown photos seem like distant memories. Still, McGregor felt disrespected and wanted to take that out on Malignaggi during camp. According to his coach, the UFC ‘champ champ’ was willing to take it even further, wanting to drag the former boxer into the Octagon.
“Conor [McGregor] wanted that. He said to me, ‘Let’s get [Paul Malignaggi] in the Octagon’, and I said that there was no way that he would fight in MMA. You’ve got to be able to prove yourself in the arena. When Conor wanted a boxing license they could look at the Diaz 2 fight where there was more or less 25 minutes of boxing. Why would Paulie go to MMA? He’d never go to MMA. Now, Conor could tweet now and say ‘I’m fighting Paulie Malignaggi’, and I guess I would be wrong then.”
“[Malignaggi] had to go back to New York to do some promotion for the Andre Ward fight, and straightaway he was disrespecting [McGregor’s] power. He was saying this and that, and I was thinking, ‘What are you doing, you have to come back here and spar Conor in seven days?’ This guy is a former world champion, he should know that you should keep your mouth shut until the fight is over – then write a book, then do fifty interviews. That would have been no problem, we would have no issue with that. But you can’t go the next day and the day after that and the day after that, and start giving away ideas we have. That’s what threw me off, he wasn’t acting like a professional.” – John Kavanagh as reported by MMA Fighting.
Paul Malignaggi was pushing for a boxing match with Conor McGregor, even after he lost to Floyd Mayweather, teasing that a St. Patrick’s Day event next year would be ideal. A date that is now being shopped around by Kavanagh to put on McGregor’s trilogy fight with Nate Diaz. It looks like the fight with Malignaggi ship has sailed, but as his coach said, all Conor McGregor has to do is say the word and a fight can happen just like that.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 9/28/2017.