Because of sparring photos released online, Conor McGregor and Paulie Malignaggi instantly went from being training partners to rivals. Malignaggi, in particular, has been riffing about how several issues, including McGregor’s “mistreatment” of other sparring partners.
McGregor responded to Malignaggi’s claims by dismissing all of them as mere “concussion talk.” But for Malignaggi, all the bad blood and the build up only leads to him fighting the UFC lightweight champion.
“When you don’t like somebody, you don’t spar them, you fight them,” Malignaggi said on Monday’s MMA Hour episode. “You either fight them, or you just never mentioned them at all.”
“This weirdo didn’t do either of those things. He constantly put me in the press with these edited videos, edited pictures and whatnot. Now, it’s picked up a ton of momentum. So yeah. So now the bad blood is there. Now we’ve gotta fight.”
As for the sparring snippets that UFC president Dana White released on Friday, Malignaggi continues to demand that the 24-hour surveillance footage in the gym should instead be put up. While he did admit that McGregor got the better of him in some rounds, he feels he would be able to disprove that a knockdown happened, which he also had an explanation for.
“He’s got his left hand on my neck and he’s throwing his little right hook inside, and I’m trying to pull up as hard as I can, in case he’s going to repeat the shot, in case he’s gonna do something else,” Malignaggi explained. “And he lets it go. So what happens? I go flying, and I fall.”
“It’s that same type of effect like when you’re playing tug-o-war as a kid, and you pull as hard as you can, and you let go, and the other person goes flying. It was that kind of effect at the instance of when I went to the canvas.”
Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor happens in 12 days’ time, on August 26th, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Malignaggi’s full interview begins at the 2:53:14 mark of the video.