The relationship between Conor McGregor and his sparring partner / former junior welterweight champ Paulie Malignaggi just completely cratered after photos from a training session seemed to show Conor McGregor boxing Malignaggi up badly.
The two have been on questionable footing since Paulie made some negative comments about McGregor’s chances against Mayweather during the Showtime broadcasts of the Mayweather vs. McGregor World Tour. That was followed up by an intense sparring session between the two that ‘got out of control.‘ Now there’s this photo issue, which has resulted in Malignaggi quitting as McGregor’s sparring partner.
Shortly after those photos surfaced, Paulie fired back on social media.
And then followed that up by officially leaving McGregor’s training camp.
I just wanted to clear the air. I am leaving the McGregor training camp today. I came with best intentions & intended to help out. Just the chance to be part of such a big event in this capacity excited me.
I believe Conor & I have a mutual respect inside the ring, earned from each other with some good work over 2 sparring sessions. It’s some of the stuff outside the ring and some ways some things were handled in training camp that I didn’t agree with that made me come to this decision. It’s not my place to dictate terms in a training camp that is not mine, but it’s my place to decide if I want to be part of it. I will not give away anything tactical that I saw in 2 sparring sessions with Conor.
For what it’s worth, they have my word. The things that upset me though I will speak about in time. I wish team McGregor well in the rest of their preparations and look forward to being back in Vegas to work fight week on Showtime.
One has to wonder what Paulie will have to say if he keeps his job as a commentator during fight week. While he says he’s not going to give anything away, having someone as notoriously loud mouthed as Malignaggi talking through hours of fight week programming must be something McGregor’s team isn’t going to like. UFC president Dana White has already axed one person off the Showtime broadcast team for lesser reasons, so don’t be surprised if Paulie disappears as well.
This isn’t the first time one of Conor McGregor’s sparring partners has been left in a huff over the implication that Conor beat them. Another former boxing champ, Chris Van Heerden, also had edited footage of McGregor beating him up released on the net to his dismay. He followed that up by releasing his own footage showing things were much less lopsided than Team McGregor made it look.