Malignaggi, a former two-division boxing world champion was brought in by McGregor’s team to be a sparring partner in preparation for the big money fight against Floyd Mayweather set to take place on August 26. However, after their sparring session, members from McGregor’s camp released photos that Malignaggi felt were exploiting him and removed himself from the training camp.
The recently retired boxer and current boxing analyst and commentator spoke on The MMA Hour on Monday and recalled having a conversation with McGregor regarding photos from their sparring that left him simply baffled.
“After that sparring, I thought we had buried the hatchet,” Malignaggi said of their relationship (transcribed by Peter Carroll for MMA Fighting).
“We took a picture in the ring. Everybody gave us a hand. We just did 12 hard rounds, it didn’t matter who got the better of it, there is a respect thing after you spend 36 minutes in a ring with a guy and you’re trying to beat the s**t out of each other.
“In the dressing room I passed by Conor and he said ‘good work’ and I said ‘yeah, good work Conor.’ I thought we had buried the hatchet and I was thinking that maybe I didn’t need to be so on-edge in the camp anymore. I was hoping that because I had came with those intentions.”
Malignaggi says he specifically asked McGregor to not release any photos from their sparring session as the media took every opportunity they could to get information from him on how the sparring sessions had gone.
“Then I said, ‘Conor, do me a favor, bro. No more of these crazy pictures,’” Malignaggi said. “The week before, when I was working at Broner/Garcia, the media was there for the fight week because that was a big fight in boxing. All everybody wanted to know about was these pictures.
“I told Conor that it becomes very hard for me to not disclose the NDA that I have when you’re putting up pictures of me.
“I am not one of the other sparring partners. Nobody knows who the other sparring partners are. Everyone knows who I am. When you put up a picture of me in sparring, the media rush comes to me and I have to answer questions that I don’t want to deal with.
“I have to try and make you look good. I want you to look good. I want to say things that make you look good. I want to promote you and help you out, but not at my expense.
“I also have to try and figure how to do it without making myself look bad now because you’re putting out me in compromising positions with these pictures.
“I had this conversation with Conor after the second sparring in the dressing room and this is probably when I realized what a dickhead this guy is because at that moment we had just done 12 hard rounds and there’s a respect that I’m feeling, at least.”
Instead of obliging to keep what happens in camp, in camp, Conor McGregor’s reaction didn’t give Malignaggi any sort of comfort.
“He looks at me, and I’m expecting, ‘you’re right, Paulie – you got it, let’s just keep this good work going.’
“Instead, he looks at me and he gives me this smirk, laughs at me and he starts walking away from me.
“He gives me his back, he’s walking away towards the showers and he’s like, ‘Ha ha, I don’t know Paulie. We got some good ones in those last two rounds. I don’t know about that.’
“At this stage, I’m waiting for Ashton Kutcher to walk into the dressing rooms and tell me I got Punk’d. I thought it was a joke. I thought there was no way this guy is that much of an a**hole.”
What are your thoughts on the entire situation surrounding Paulie Malignaggi and Conor McGregor? Let’s discuss this in the comment section.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 8/8/2017.