UFC President Dana White denies Paulie Malignaggi’s claim that the released sparring footage with Conor McGregor was manipulated.
Not only that, but White insisted Malignaggi has fabricated his entire story about how sparring rounds with “The Notorious” unfolded ahead of McGregor’s (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) Aug. 26 boxing match with Floyd Mayweather (49-0 boxing).
The UFC boss apparently witnessed everything that went down in person, and he told SkySports.com during a Monday interview that the published clips were just a fraction of what really unfolded in the gym.
“What am I, Steven Spielberg? Come on,” White said. “It’s footage of the actual sparring. Let me tell you what: I was there for all 12 rounds, and Paulie has said some crazy things and bad things about me. I felt sorry for the guy. It was a one-way beating. A lot of people said Conor couldn’t box. Paulie was obviously lying about everything he said about the sparring match, so I released it.”
After spending roughly a week with McGregor’s camp, a furious Malignaggi made a sudden exit when some unflattering sparring photos surfaced online. One photo in particular showed Malignaggi down on the canvas with McGregor looking over him from a distance.
The photo immediately sparked debate about whether it was a true knockdown, and Malignaggi insisted it was merely a “push down.” A few days later, White published roughly 22 seconds of footage from a 12-round sparring session between the pair, a portion of which showed the moment in question.
The debate about what exactly happened is still ongoing. Malignaggi told MMAjunkie Radio on Monday that he wasn’t pleased with White’s decision to show the material from inside the gym to the world. However, he said that’s simply another example of White’s character.
“Dana robs the UFC fighters blind,” Malignaggi said. “I’ve never met an MMA fighter that actually likes Dana or had anything good to say. I’m still looking for one. When Dana comes up in conversation, I’ve yet to hear anybody say, ‘Wow, that guy’s great.’ Or, ‘That guy treats us so good.’ Or, ‘That guy’s a good guy.’
“This isn’t a Disney movie, my friend. This is real life. Aug 26, this isn’t a Disney movie. Across the ring, you’ve got Floyd Mayweather, and he knows what he’s doing.”
Malignaggi has challenged White and McGregor’s camp to release the entirety of the sparring footage to prove which side truly got the best of the other. White said he’s willing to make that happen, but McGregor doesn’t want an extensive look at his techniques and tactics getting out to the public, and in turn, to his opponent Mayweather.
“I got no problem releasing the full tape,” White said. “The problem is Conor doesn’t want Mayweather to see everything that he’s doing and everything he’s been working on. Those were just some small clips.”
Malignaggi-McGregor feud has sparked discussion about a potential fight between the two once the Irishman handles his business with Mayweather at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas later this month. Malignaggi said he’d like it to happen on St. Patrick’s Day of next year, but White doesn’t seem keen on allowing the UFC’s reigning lightweight champ to venture into another boxing match.
White has said numerous times that McGregor’s fight after Mayweather will come under the UFC banner. He also said he’s already seen 12 rounds of work between McGregor and Malignaggi, and doesn’t need to witness more.
“It was very one-sided,” White said. “It was an absolute beating. Guess what: I think it was the right for Paulie Malignaggi to definitely leave, for his health’s sake.”
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