Dana White: No one wants Conor McGregor vs. Paulie Malignaggi, who turns focus to Artem Lobov

UFC President Dana White adamantly denies Paulie Malignaggi’s claim that a fight with Conor McGregor is in negotiations and doubts anyone would want to see the UFC champ compete against the retired boxer, anyway.

Malignaggi and McGregor have been feuding since the former boxing champ made a brief and dramatic appearance in McGregor’s camp prior to his August bout with Floyd Mayweather. Malignaggi had a pair of sparring sessions with McGregor, and the fallout included accusations of mistreatment, released sparring clips and a whole lot more back-and-forth in the public eye.

It’s been clear ever since Malignaggi made a furious exit from McGregor’s camp that he was angling for a showdown with the brash Irishman. McGregor said he would welcome Malignaggi to the octagon for an MMA fight, but UFC President Dana White has absolutely no interest in booking the matchup, be it under MMA, boxing or any other combat sports ruleset.

“Paulie Malignaggi never says (expletive) that isn’t true,” Dana White sarcastically told the “Real Quick with Mike Swick” podcast, hosted by former UFC fighter Mike Swick. “Do you think people really want to see Conor vs. Paulie Malignaggi? People want to see Conor fight in MMA. That’s what they want to see. The Mayweather fight was a one-off, (expletive) crazy deal. This is where he belongs, this is the sport he’s in, this is the sport he excels in and this is where he’s a world champion. This is where he needs to be.”

In the midst of Malignaggi pursuit of the fight, he’s been caught in the crosshairs of Artem Lobov, who is one of McGregor’s good friends and training partners. The pair has engaged in social media warfare, with Malignaggi claiming he could beat both McGregor and Lobov in one night. Lobov said he would be more than willing to step in the boxing to bring the bout to reality (via Twitter):

Whether there’s a chance of Lobov vs. Malignaggi really happening remains to be seen. Lobov said following a recent unanimous decision loss to Andre Fili at UFC Fight Night 118 that he’s considering asking for his UFC release in order to compete in boxing matches. Lobov might not have to go anywhere, though, because White recently revealed boxing could be introduced under the company umbrella in 2018.

White said he understands why Malignaggi would want to fight McGregor given their history, but at this point he has no interest in seeing it. He also believes the majority of the combat sports audience feels the same way.

“Why did Paulie Malignaggi get up and walk out of camp after two sparring sessions? Because it was the right (expletive) thing to do,” White said. “Because he was going to get hurt, because he was going to take damage that was going to affect him for the rest of his life that he didn’t need to (expletive) take. It’s not like they were paying him big money or he had a (expletive) fight coming up himself.

“Paulie Malignaggi got up and left camp, and he should have (expletive) got up and left camp because Conor was going to (expletive) hurt him badly. It’s no disrespect to the guy. It’s a fact. I was there. I watched the whole (expletive) sparring session. That guy needed to go home and he needed to leave Las Vegas.”

For more on the UFC schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Paulie Malignaggi says discussions underway for Conor McGregor fight and PLEASE GOD NO

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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured, Featured Videos, News, UFC

According to former boxing champ Paulie Malignaggi, discussions are underway for a potential fight with sparring partner-turned bitter rival Conor McGregor.

“I know Al Haymon’s talking with Dana White,” Malignaggi told Fight Hype. “I know they’re speaking, so if they want the fight they’ll make it.”

Dear god, let us hope they do not want the fight. Let us do more than hope. Let us offer up blood sacrifices to avoid this fate. Let us throw a virgin into a volcano and slaughter a goat on the first fine market day. Let us seize the property of those who would advocate for such a fight, then gather their belongings in the town square and set them ablaze. Let us never relent.

On some level, sure, I get it. Malignaggi sniffs a payday. He has an image to maintain. He has a very personal grudge against McGregor that has at times drifted into restraining order territory. He has a very distinct way of pronouncing the word “balls,” (boo-awls) and a corresponding love of saying it over and over again.

It’s not surprising that he wants this fight, but the powers that be must not let him have it. The reason is very simple: While a little bit of ridiculousness can be fun, too much is just plain stupid.

McGregor’s boxing match with Floyd Mayweather, for instance? Just absurd enough to be a good time, though even then we had to exercise extreme patience and suspend more than a little disbelief in order to enjoy it.

But another boxing match, especially against Malignaggi, all while his UFC lightweight title goes undefended? That’s the point where McGregor would drift hopelessly into self-parody.

And for what? I mean, money, sure. But there’s plenty of that to be found elsewhere. The UFC is desperate for McGregor’s return. MMA fans are, too. A better-than-expected performance against Mayweather likely only increased his star power, which means he could defend his UFC title against a coat rack right now and still break MMA pay-per-view records.

A boxing match with Malignaggi, on the other hand, would be a step backwards in every meaningful sense. It would be the lazy sequel to the breakout hit, the “Speed 2: Cruise Control” of combat sports matchups. And you know something? There’s a good reason Keanu Reeves turned that sequel down, and it’s because he has some sense.

Back in the UFC there are a plethora of options for McGregor’s next fight, ranging from the logical choices like Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov to the purely profit-driven possibilities like Nate Diaz or Georges St-Pierre.

All of them would be better ideas than another stupid boxing match against a lesser draw who’s been following McGregor around like a bad credit score ever since their fallout as sparring partners.

Fighters and promoters want to make money. Fans want to have some fun. But we can do all those things without being idiots about it.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Conor McGregor, Paulie Malignaggi get heated at 'Money Fight' press event

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Paulie Malignaggi indicated he’d be on his best behavior before Conor McGregor fought Floyd Mayweather.

But when McGregor got in his face, that went out the window.

Malignaggi (36-8 boxing) and McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) nearly went nose to nose at grand arrivals for “The Money Fight,” getting into a heated verbal exchange captured by
by MMAWeekly.com outside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, which hosts the Showtime pay-per-view event.

Malignaggi, who’s working Saturday’s fight as a commentator, asked McGregor, “Did you bring your balls, Conor?”

McGregor shoved his way through reporters to initiate a face-off. Things seemed to start out civilly, but the situation quickly deteriorated before the two were separated.

“Get over it. You got your ass whipped,” McGregor said as Malignaggi started taunting him.

The two have had a very public falling out after Malignaggi left McGregor’s camp as a sparring partner. The retired two-division boxing champ blasted the Irish star and UFC President Dana White for leaking footage of one of their sparring session. Malignaggi said it was leaked to distract the world from McGregor’s lack of boxing prowess. White said Malignaggi was badly beaten in the gym.

In an interview with MMAjunkie Radio, Malignaggi, who retired earlier this year, said he’s interested in boxing McGregor on St. Patrick’s Day of 2018 if the UFC lightweight champ fared well against Mayweather. McGregor later laughed at the challenge and told Malignaggi to “join the queue.”

Malignaggi also said he would keep his composure on fight week but didn’t rule out an altercation after the event if he crossed paths with McGregor. Turns out, he couldn’t avoid one beforehand, either.

For more on “The Money Fight,” check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Floyd Mayweather calls Conor McGregor 'extremely dirty' in sparring video

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Filed under: News, UFC

Floyd Mayweather indicated the moves that led Conor McGregor used to knock Paulie Malignaggi won’t fly when they square off for “The Money Fight.”

“A lot of shots were illegal – a lot of grappling, a lot of wrestling, a lot of illegal shots,” Mayweather said during a conference call today promoting the Aug. 26 pay-per-view at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Mayweather (49-0 boxing) dodged questions about racism and the political firestorm engulfing President Donald Trump. But he watched the video that sparked a firestorm in the sporting world – a brief clip of McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) putting his brief sparring partner Paulie Malignaggi on the canvas.

Malignaggi, who’s still scheduled to commentate on the Showtime pay-per-view event, has blasted those involved with the release. UFC President Dana White claimed Showtime omitted the footage from its behind-the-scenes documentary, which Showtime denied.

Mayweather takes a different view.

“Some may call it a knockdown – some may not call it a knockdown,” he said. “At the end of the day, it only counts once you get under the lights – that’s just in the gym.

“We shouldn’t be here judging Paulie, a guy that’s been retired and commentating and traveling the world and not going to the gym at all, just going in there with a guy who’s an athlete period, and just working up every day. Honestly, they shouldn’t have even went 12 rounds with a young guy that’s active.”

Whatever happened in the gym that day, Mayweather is confident there will be no shenanigans when he faces off with McGregor in the ring. On Wednesday, the Nevada State Athletic Commission signed off on using eight-ounce gloves for the fight, and veteran official Robert Byrd was tapped to oversee the action. Byrd is known as a referee who doesn’t intervene too much and lets fighters work themselves out of situations.

Mayweather noted McGregor’s enlistment of veteran referee Joe Cortez to oversee his sparring sessions, which he called a “great thing.” But he questioned the ultimate effect it would have on the Irish champ, who’s stepping into the professional boxing ring for the first time.

“Even though he had Joe Cortez in his training camp, I still seen him being extremely dirty,” Mayweather said. “But my job is not to worry about the referee, my job is to go out there and fight and let the referee do his job.”

Given the interest in the video of McGregor and Malignaggi, it seems clear the world is dying to know what happens when the boxing neophyte steps into the ring with one of the sport’s all-time greats. Mayweather said he’s not going to worry about outcome and simply focus on giving fans a show.

“Like I said on numerous occasions building up to this fight, I’m coming straight ahead, so he don’t have nothing to worry about,” Mayweather said. “I look forward following the Queensberry rules of boxing and I’m pretty sure he looks forward to following the Queensberry rules of boxing.”

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Conor McGregor on fighting Paulie Malignaggi: 'Tell the kid to join the queue'

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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC

The war of words between Conor McGregor and Paulie Malignaggi isn’t going to lead to a fight any time soon if McGregor’s most recent statement is any indication.

“Tell the kid to join the queue,” McGregor on Wednesday said of Malignaggi, who this week entertained the idea of coming out of retirement for a possible St. Patrick’s Day fight. “Tell him to shut his mouth and join the queue, will you for (expletive) sake.”

Malignaggi (36-8 boxing) fumed after footage of his sparring session with McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) was leaked by UFC President Dana White. In several interviews, Malignaggi blasted both men and said the video didn’t show a dominant run he had between Rounds 5 and 10.

Malignaggi said the video is merely a distraction to mask McGregor’s paltry chances against the undefeated Mayweather (49-0 boxing).

McGregor contends he came out well ahead when the two sparred, concussing the retired two-division champ so badly that his team was concerned about the damage done.

Now, with a public feud distracting from the Aug. 26 Mayweather fight at T-Mobile Arena, McGregor has had enough.

“He got his ass whooped, and he went sprinting. I don’t know what to say about the guy,” McGregor said. “But, hey, there’s a big list of people who want to get in there and try and fight me. Tell him to join the queue, and we’ll see what happens after the fight.”

McGregor has said he will compete in both boxing and MMA after he fights Mayweather. White has said the Irish champ will be back in the octagon by the end of the year to defend his lightweight belt.

There are plenty of opponents waiting for him there.

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Showtime exec refutes Dana White's claim about McGregor vs. Malignaggi footage

A short clip of sparring footage between Conor McGregor and Paulie Malignaggi set the combat sports world on fire.

Millions of people watched as Malignaggi spilled to the canvas after an exchange with McGregor. Was it a punch? Was it a trip? Everyone had an opinion.

But getting the full footage of the sparring? That was its own drama, according to Showtime executive Stephen Espinoza. Including the sparring on Showtime’s “All Access” – a seeming no-brainer for the promotional documentary – wasn’t as easy as making a request.

Espinoza refuted a claim from UFC President Dana White that the UFC sent Showtime “a ton of footage” to include in the promotional documentary for “The Money Fight” and left it on the cutting room floor to protect Malignaggi, a Showtime commentator.

Espinoza said it was actually McGregor’s team sending the footage – and it certainly wasn’t all of it.

“We received a few short clips,” he told The Sporting News. “Roughly a minute total which were provided by the Conor camp. We reviewed them and were very interested in using them and including them in ‘All Access.’

“But it was a series of sort of spliced-together McGregor highlights, eight or nine seconds each. We didn’t want to use the whole thing. It was sort of repetitive. We were told if we didn’t use the whole segment as they edited it then we couldn’t use it at all. So in the end, Conor’s camp withheld permission for us to use it.”

White claimed the sparring session between McGregor and Malignaggi was a one-sided beatdown in favor of the UFC lightweight champion, and Malignaggi’s decision to leave McGregor’s camp shortly after arriving was good for his health.

“(Showtime) denied (the sparring footage), because they didn’t want to make Paulie look bad,” White said. “They didn’t show any of it. They had a ton of the sparring footage, and they wanted to use zero. I have nothing against Paulie. I don’t even know the guy. You know me when guys start talking (expletive). I actually felt bad for the guy.”

Malignaggi, in turn, blasted White for releasing the footage on social media accounts. He accused the promoter of withholding the full footage to obscure McGregor’s minuscule chances against Mayweather when they headline the Showtime pay-per-view on Aug. 26 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Malignaggi is set to serve as a commentator.

McGregor dismissed Malignaggi’s anger as “concussion talk” and on Wednesday laughed at the former two-division champ’s callout, telling him to “get in the queue.”

McGregor plans to box and compete in MMA after facing Mayweather. No shortage of opponents await him in both sports. But a fight with Malignaggi seems like a no-brainer, if the reaction to the footage is any indication.

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

If Conor McGregor hangs with Floyd Mayweather, Paulie Malignaggi would consider fight

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Now that there’s a grudge and a ready-make storyline to promote, the idea of un-retiring doesn’t sound so bad to former two-division boxing champ Paulie Malignaggi.

Punching Conor McGregor for real – and making big money in the process – is something that might get him off the bench. His inner-promoter can already see it.

“Paulie Malignaggi is the retired guy who can still fight and is maybe past his prime, but still generates a big name in the sport and the event, and the bad blood, that’s already inherent there,” Malignaggi told MMAjunkie Radio. “I’ve thought about St. Patrick’s day falls on a Saturday next year. My mind thinks at a hundred miles an hour.”

At the same time, Malignaggi is hesitant to get too invested in the idea given his prediction for what will happen when McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) steps in the ring with Floyd Mayweather (49-0 boxing) on Aug. 26 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

“I don’t want to put the cart way ahead of the horse,” Malignaggi said. “Let’s say he looks really bad with Floyd. Can you really ever sell him in boxing again? If he does even decent, yes, you’ve got something there. You can’t really talk about anything past the 26th.”

Malignaggi retired in March on the 19th anniversary of his first amateur match. He then turned to commentary and signed on to analyze McGregor’s upcoming fight with Mayweather.

Then, he found himself at the center of the Showtime pay-per-view fight’s storyline when McGregor wanted him to spar and indicated there was a grudge to settle. He was aware of the Irish champ’s talk but eagerly accepted an offer to help in camp.

Now, the two are in the midst of a full-blown feud that’s distracted from McGregor’s fight with Mayweather, which Malignaggi believes was the intention all along, whatever the cost.

“You might find a way to get rid of me,” Malignaggi said. “Andre Berto didn’t want to come in. You try to contact Steve Forbes; he didn’t want to come in, because now you’ve alienated yourself from the boxing community, because they know what you do. They know you try to make little highlight reels out of your sessions, whether you look good or not.

“So what do you have left? He’s got some little amateur bum he’s sparring, like some kid who kisses his ass every second he gets; he’s like some 20-year-old kid,” Malignaggi said. “And then this guy Artem (Lobov), who’s basically his professional ass-kisser, who’s basically a punching bag. This guy would come in at the end of sparring, and I was looking at it and thinking to myself, ‘Why doesn’t this guy just hit the punching bag?’ At least a punching bag gives more resistance when you hit it. This guy’s useless.

“What’s the the point of doing this? First of all, you’re getting ready for Floyd Mayweather – you want to spar an MMA guy in boxing and an amateur? And that’s what he’s left with basically.”

Still, Malignaggi is not one to pass up a good opportunity. If McGregor manages to hang with Mayweather, all their bad blood is a perfect platform to sell a fight. And Malignaggi argues it’s a better option than putting McGregor against other top boxing contenders, who might further expose him.

“I think there’s genuinely interest in it,” he said. “Let’s face it: What’s he really going to do in boxing? Who’s he going to fight, Errol Spence?”

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Trading Shots: A snippet of McGregor-Malignaggi sparring, and an avalanche of speculation

A snippet of sparring footage reignited interest and debate surrounding the Aug. 26 boxing match between UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor and pound-for-pound boxing great Floyd Mayweather. But is it all just hype and edits in the end? MMAjunkie columnist Ben Fowlkes and retired UFC and WEC fighter Danny Downes discuss.

Fowlkes: Let me set a scene for you, Danny. It’s Friday night. I’m relaxing with a glass of port (Kokanee) in my study (garage), and my phone buzzes. It’s an email from the UFC. Subject line: “Conor McGregor vs. Paulie Malignaggi sparring footage.”

So naturally, I open this email and click the link so fast that I nearly break my thumb. Can you blame me? All week the headlines have been dominated by talk of what supposedly happened in this sparring session, and now we’re finally going to the videotape. The magic eye don’t lie, Danny.

Except when I click the link I get 10 seconds of sparring footage, and there’s clearly at least one edit in there. What I see is Malignaggi eating a legitimately stiff left hand from McGregor. Then there’s a cut in the video. Then I see Malignaggi going down while McGregor yanks on his head.

Malignaggi is not pleased by this turn of events. He feels like the UFC spliced together some footage to make McGregor look good at his expense. And to some extent, I’d say it worked. McGregor managed to look pretty good against a former two-division world champ. But are we just watching some carefully edited wolf tickets here? And if so, does it matter?

Downes: What you’re seeing is a little bit of panic. For all the hype surrounding Mayweather vs. McGregor, the closer we get to the actual fight date, people don’t seem that interested. Sure talking heads on ESPN or FOX Sports keep yapping about it, but now it’s football season. Tickets aren’t flying off the shelf as anticipated, so they have to spice things up.

What are the two biggest complaints about this carnival fight? 1) Conor McGregor has no chance, and 2) It’ll be a boring 12-round decision. To achieve the numbers the promoters want, you need a lot of casual fans to press the “buy” button. And those same exact people still remember the sting from Mayweather vs. Pacquiao.

How do you combat these problems? You have Mayweather go on ESPN and say that Conor McGregor has the edge “on paper” while admitting that he’s lost a step. Mayweather isn’t known for being the most humble fighter on Earth, so when he criticizes himself, it really means something. What people fail to realize is that Mayweather likes money more than he likes compliments. If he has to call himself old to increase the buy rate, he’ll do it.

What I think the sparring footage was a direct response to, though, was the media day workout. Let’s just say that McGregor looked less than stellar on the heavy bag. There are people who believe “Mystic Mac” is out there playing three-dimensional chess and planning 20 moves ahead, but the average person watches the workout and thinks, “Welp, this is going to be a blowout.” Look at how the betting lines have moved in recent days.

The carnival was in desperate need of some fresh blood, and voila, some edited sparring footage drops. I wouldn’t call this wolf tickets, because that suggests some large, coherent strategy. I think the powers at be are nervous that their cash cow may not be as profitable as they’d hoped.

Then again, maybe I’m selling all the parties involved short. This is still going to make a boatload (I believe that’s a metric measurement) of money, isn’t it? Is the Mayweather-McGregor train running at full speed, or is it struggling just to reach the station?

Fowlkes: I have to admit that I’m impressed with how all sides have continually found new and innovative ways to keep the fight constantly in the news as the date draws nearer. After the borderline embarrassing media tour, there seemed to be a swift backlash from a lot of mainstream forces. You had people essentially predicting cultural disaster, and not in the fun way.

This required a response, but the problem was that the media tour had already ratcheted up the personal animosity meter as far as it would go. It wasn’t enough to have these two guys just keep calling each other names. What followed was this beef with Malignaggi, which might have been the best thing to happen to the Mayweather-McGregor fight.

That’s because, when this all started, McGregor’s boxing skills were an unknown. As in, we didn’t know if he really had any, because he’s never had a boxing match. There was sparring footage even before this (remember Chris van Heerden, who also complained of edited video before releasing the raw footage himself?) but it wasn’t much to go on. And how could a guy with no boxing matches beat the best boxer around?

But now the hype machine has managed to turn the lack of information into a feature rather than a bug. When there’s so little McGregor boxing footage out there, a 10-second sparring clip is bound to get a ton of attention.

You might very well ask why the UFC didn’t release video of the whole round, but the truth is you already know why. It’s because the unknown is what’s helping to sell this fight. If we don’t know whether or not McGregor can really box, then we have to at least allow for the possibility that he might be a preternatural boxing genius.

But the news cycle is such that even this will only carry you so far. There are still two weeks to go until this fight. The question I can’t help but ask myself is, what’s coming next?

Downes: You may be on the edge of your seat asking that, but none of it makes you more likely to buy the actual fight. The drama may be fun and give people something to talk about while the UFC takes a hiatus, but it’s all sizzle and no steak.

At the end of the day, the main selling point of this fight is “anything can happen!” As an MMA fan, it’s a familiar refrain. Remember Daniel Cormier vs. Patrick Cummins? A complete mismatch sold on the premise that anything could happen. Cummins beat Cormier one time at wrestling practice. Let’s make a No. 1 contender fight! How did that work out?

Maybe a better example is Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen. Any serious person knew Sonnen had no chance of beating Jones. It was a complete mismatch, but Sonnen talked a good game and he had some quality one-liners to deliver. Fans may have been entertained in the buildup, but they didn’t want to watch the actual fight. The circus fight barely did better than Jones vs. Machida at UFC 140.

After months of hype and discussion, everyone involved is starting to realize what we knew from the beginning – there’s no substance here. Perhaps they thought they’d find a storyline better than “these guys like money” along the way, but it hasn’t come to fruition. So they’re going to stick with what got them there in the first place, and that’s gimmicks. This week it was a carefully edited sparring video, maybe next week Ido Portal shows up with his pool noodles.

There are a lot of people who want to watch this fight. That’s fine. I’m not in the business of telling people how to spend their money. But don’t pretend for a minute that you want to watch the fight out of some serious consideration for the sporting aspect of it. That’s what these videos are trying to sell, and I’m not buying it.

Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Danny Downes, a retired UFC and WEC fighter, is an MMAjunkie contributor who has also written for UFC.com and UFC 360. Follow them on twitter at @benfowlkesMMA and @dannyboydownes.

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Twitter reacts to that controversial Conor McGregor-Paulie Malignaggi sparring footage

UFC President Dana White released some clips of the much discussed sparring session between Conor McGregor and Paulie Malignaggi late Friday. The footage was certainly favorable toward the UFC lightweight champion.

After Malignaggi left McGregor’s (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) camp for the Aug. 26 boxing match with Floyd Mayweather (49-0 boxing) due to the release of some unflattering sparring photos, the debate about what actually happened in the gym has been a hot topic. Malignaggi insisted that a “push down” occurred, but the McGregor camp claimed it was a knockdown.

After much back-and-forth, White published two clips of McGregor and Malignaggi sparring, and the reaction was telling. Check below to see the top Twitter reactions to the latest chapter in the build to McGregor vs. Mayweather, which takes place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

* * * *

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Conor McGregor speaks out on Paulie Malignaggi sparring fallout: 'He took a lot of head trauma'

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LAS VEGAS – Much has been made in recent weeks of the fallout between Conor McGregor and Paulie Malignaggi after the retired two-time boxing champion abruptly left McGregor’s training camp following two sparring sessions.

Since his departure, Malignaggi has been critical – that’s putting it mildly – of the way he’s been portrayed by McGregor on social media. Malignaggi, who has claimed he got the better of McGregor, certainly won’t appreciate the 22-second footage UFC President Dana White shared late Friday night of McGregor landing some hard, clean shots on Malignaggi.

Earlier in the day, McGregor finally addressed the drama for the first time and offered his side of the story.

“He was looking for an exit,” McGregor said during his media workout in Las Vegas. “The spars were not good for him. He took a lot of head trauma. Straight after it we were worried. The sparring partners were actually telling us when he was dropped back at the home that he was stumbling out of the car after the 12-rounder.

“He was flattened against the ropes; multiple times the ropes kept him on his feet. We were worried about him. We thought the worst was about to happen. He was certainly badly concussed. And then he just got out of there and went running.”

McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) and Floyd Mayweather (49-0 boxing) face off on Aug. 26 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in a pay-per-view event
expected to be the most lucrative prize fight of all time. McGregor invited Malignaggi to camp to gain experience sparring a high-level boxer ahead of the showdown.

Malignaggi said he accepted the offer with the intention of simply helping McGregor but figured out early on that McGregor’s motivation was to make himself look good at Malignaggi’s expense.

Problems arose between when the UFC lightweight champion posted a photo of himself showboating with his hands behind his back during their first eight-round sparring session. Things escalated after a second photo of McGregor looking down at Malignaggi on the canvas was posted to McGregor’s social media. Malignaggi especially took umbrage with the second photo; he said that moment was the result of a pushdown, which the aforementioned video footage seems to support.

McGregor said he posted only the first photo intentionally, claiming the second photo of the grounded Malignaggi “got leaked.” It was later removed.

Despite whatever miscommunication there might have been between the two men, McGregor maintains that Malignaggi simply couldn’t hang with him in the ring and left because of a hit to his ego.

“He showed (up), he tried his best, it didn’t go his way,” McGregor said. “He got his ass whooped, he got his pride dented, and then he wanted a way out. What better way for a guy like him to exit under a load of questions. …

“He was flattened. What can I say? He got his ass whooped. But I like the guy. He’s kind of like a lovable mouthpiece.”

Malignaggi has said he wouldn’t release any tactical or strategic information following his experience with McGregor.

Mayweather on Thursday called Malignaggi a friend. With that in mind, McGregor was asked if he was worried about Malignaggi spilling anything to Mayweather.

“Let him speak (to Mayweather). I’m sure he has,” McGregor said. “You can’t prepare for me. … There’s nobody in the game that moves like me and that strikes like me and has the confidence like me. So let them talk.”

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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