Monday 25 September 2017

WATCH - Paulie Malignaggi calls Conor McGregor a 'd**khead' and a 'scumbag' in astonishing rant

Paulie Malignaggi under pressure on the ropes
Paulie Malignaggi under pressure on the ropes
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

It has become clear that Paulie Malignaggi and Conor McGregor's professional relationship is well and truly over.

The former two-weight world champion has sparred the Crumlin fighter on two occasions as he prepares to face Floyd Mayweather on August 26 but withdrew from the preparations last week after photos of their session were leaked online.

Malignaggi continued to stoke the flames over the weekend on Twitter claiming that McGregor "whimpered like a girl" when he was hit to the body.

The American also felt that he was being set up for a fall by the Irishman when he was brought to Las Vegas for the second session.

He admitted that he felt tired after the first eight-round session and believes that McGregor thought he could get the better of him over an extra four rounds.

“In his mind, he was probably thinking, ‘Paulie had a rough time getting through eight (rounds), let’s set him up for 12 (rounds),” he told renowned MMA journalist Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour.

“I get to the gym the next day and he has all kinds of dignitaries there.

“He’s got Lorenzo Fertitta there, he’s got Dana White there, he’s got his agent there (Audie Attar), he’s got a couple of other people I don’t know there.

“Another thing checked off in my mind because usually sparring is so private I couldn’t even bring in a trainer for my corner. I’d just have his sparring partners work my corner,” he explained.

“It was so private that you had to leave your phone in a box so nobody could sneak pictures or record. It was so tight, yet he had some dignitaries come in on this day.

“Again, I was thinking to myself, this guy is going to try and stop me tonight. He’s banking on catching a guy that could barely go eight, and had a tough time doing the eight the first time. He’s brought in all these dignitaries because they can speak about how great he looks at my expense.

“I was angry, but I knew that I came ready this time.”

Malignaggi felt McGregor was in top in the first five rounds but he said the Dubliner became 'very hittable' in the latter half of the sparring session.

He also said that his body shots were having a big effect on his opponent.

“[McGregor] stopped talking because he wanted to save as much energy as he could,” he said. “He stopped throwing as many punches. He caught some nice ones for the first five rounds. The nice ones he caught were the whole time when I was talking.

“After seven (rounds), which was one of his worst rounds, he sits there and he tells me, ‘7-0 to me’.

“I remember walking back to my corner and yelling back at him, I said, ‘whatever school you went to they didn’t teach you how to count!’

“I was feeling so good that I start yelling at Dana White ringside. I started saying, This is the bitch you brought me here?’ I said, ‘24 hours ago I was on a flight’. Then I lied a bit, I said, ‘Last week I didn’t do anything’ — I did workout that week, but of course I wanted to pump myself up.

“I knew that Conor heard me across the ring. Dana didn’t acknowledge it with any kind of emotion, he didn’t say anything, but he was looking at me when I was saying it.”

Malignaggi said he was pushed down by McGregor in the second half of the session and that moment was caught in the now infamous leaked photograph.

“The funny thing about the push down was this — it was during one of his worst moments,” Malignaggi said.

“He pushed me down on the floor to try and catch a break and the instant I went down I got back up. I remember when I was down I continued to trash talk. I said, ‘Buddy, you need a break?’ because Cortez had to wipe off my gloves.

“I started to take it to him right after that. I told him, ‘you don’t get no breaks here’, and I started to hit him with more body shots. I said, ‘take those, they don’t feel good’ and I could hear him whimper off the body shots, too.”

He felt that he would make peace with McGregor after the 12 rounds but that wasn't the case.

“After that sparring, I thought we had buried the hatchet,” he said.

“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.”

According to Malignaggi, things escalated when he asked McGregor not to post any pictures of the sparring online.

“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 d***head 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.”

McGregor’s reaction did not make him confident that pictures would not surface of the session.

“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.”

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