In an effort to better prepare for his August 26 boxing match with undefeated boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr., UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor enlisted the help of recently retired former two-division champ Paulie Malignaggi. Regrettably, the pair’s working relationship crumbled as quickly as it began, as Malignaggi left the camp after feeling disrespected by McGregor.
Since Malignaggi’s departure, UFC President Dana White has released footage of McGregor dropping the boxer in a sparring session. While this footage would seem to confirm much of what McGregor suggested, Malignaggi remained on the defensive, alienating much of the combat sports world as he did.
In the opinion of legendary combat sport cutman Jacob “Stitch” Duran, however, Malignaggi was indeed disrespected. Speaking to Helen Yee (before White’s footage was released), the cutman defended Malignaggi’s character and assured that in the world of fighting, everyone deserves respect.
“It’s a circus, no doubt about it,” Stitch said of the Malignaggi-McGregor drama . “Sometimes you’re going to have a lot of clowns – more clowns than you have top performers – and I think that’s where we’re at right now. But you know, I know Paulie Malignaggi, and on his side, I gotta show him some support, because he’s a two-time world champion. He’s a great guy, very honest, and from him, what I understood, he was very disrespected. That’s what you don’t do to guys that are in this industry. It’s a very small industry, Helen, and you know that, and these fighters, the only thing they ask for is respect.”
“I don’t think [Malignaggi overreacted],” Stitch continued. “Paulie’s a man. The thing about it, like I say, it’s a respect factor. When you’re disrespected, whether you’re a world champion, or just a sparring partner, you’ve got to respect the guys you work with.”
“I don’t think he needed that picture of Paulie [being knocked] down to hype up the fight.”
Where do you stand on this Paulie Malignaggi – Conor McGregor grudge?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 8/13/2017.