Paulie Malignaggi leaves Las Vegas, angry at Conor McGregor in sparring dispute

Kevin Iole
Combat columnist
UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor has gotten into a beef with sparring partner Paulie Malignaggi about images that were released of their sessions. (Getty Images)

It’s hardly a shock that the fight that was put together via social media is blowing up on social media.

Former boxing world champion Paulie Malignaggi, who had been in Las Vegas sparring with Conor McGregor to help prepare the UFC lightweight champion for his Aug. 26 fight at T-Mobile Arena with Floyd Mayweather, flew home to New York on Friday.

Malignaggi was angry at photos that McGregor released of their sparring at the UFC Performance Institute that seemed to show McGregor knocking Malignaggi down.

It is a similar complaint to one that boxer Chris van Heerden made about McGregor when van Heerden accused McGregor of selectively editing their sparring footage to create the impression he was doing better than he was.

Malignaggi, who is 36-8 with seven knockouts in a boxing career in which he won the IBF super lightweight title and the WBA welterweight crown, will be part of the Showtime broadcast crew for the pay-per-view event.

Malignaggi, who announced after a March loss that he would retire only to later say he planned to continue to box, was none too happy with McGregor’s post and took to Instagram himself.

He also vented on Twitter, telling a very specific story about what happened between him and McGregor in the ring and what, exactly, he was upset about after the whole ordeal.


In the grand scheme of things, it all means nothing. A sparring session isn’t a fight, and McGregor is considerably larger than Malignaggi. What it will do, though, is draw even more interest to a card that is expected to set pay-per-view, live gate and total gross revenue records.

Malignaggi will get a bit more notoriety out of it — though probably not all the kind he wishes it was — and McGregor will rake in a few more bucks based on the extra pay-per-view units this “controversy” helps move.