Over the past few weeks, there has been a lot of trash talk between UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor and retired two-time boxing champion Paulie Malignaggi. If you recall, the two fighters sparred together twice in Las Vegas, Nevada. As a result of those sparring sessions, there has been a big fallout.
The reason for the fallout is due to Malignaggi being critical of McGregor and the way that he was portrayed by McGregor on social media. Malignaggi has stated in several interviews that he got the better of McGregor. UFC President Dana White released footage of McGregor landing some hard, clean shots on Malignaggi.
On Friday, McGregor decided to finally address 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 (transcript courtesy of MMA Junkie). “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.”
According to Malignaggi, e accepted the offer with the intention of simply helping McGregor prepare for his upcoming boxing match against Floyd Mayweather later this month. However, Malignaggi figured out early on that McGregor’s motivation was to make himself look good at Malignaggi’s expense.
There were photos of McGregor showboating with his hands behind his back during their first eight-round sparring session. Then, a second photo came out of McGregor looking down at Malignaggi on the canvas. Malignaggi said that moment was the result of a push down. However, by looking at the video footage, it appears that Malignaggi was actually knocked down by strikes.
McGregor maintains that Malignaggi simply couldn’t hang with him in the ring.
“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.”
“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.”
The biggest fight of the year is set to go down on August 26th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The bout will air on pay-per-view and is expected to be the most lucrative prize fight of all time.