An unflattering and allegedly misleading photo has been widely cited for Paulie Malignaggi’s departure from Conor McGregor’s training camp, at which he was one of several sparring partners preparing the UFC star for his boxing debut on Aug. 26.
The retired two-weight world champion boxer said the photo of him laying on the canvas after what he said was a push from McGregor was the final straw.
“There were little things from the time I got there,” Malignaggi said of his time in Las Vegas as part McGregor’s training camp for his fight against Floyd Mayweather at T-Mobile Arena. “This guy is putting sparring partners who don’t come from a very good living in life in crack houses instead of giving them a fun experience. I don’t have to take it. I can just leave. I don’t need the problem.
“He’s renting himself a Lamborghini for camp, but he’s putting his sparring partners and even some of his teammates in what amounts to a dilapidated crack house in the outskirts of Vegas. I was almost shocked at the cheapskate this guy was.”
A source told the Review-Journal the residence where McGregor’s sparring partners are being housed is in the area of Jones Boulevard and U.S. Highway 95.
Another of McGregor’s sparring partners, Irish amateur boxer Tiernan Bradley, joked on Twitter about the comment.
“It’s not a crack house,” Bradley wrote. “It’s actually really (cozy) apart from all the heroin needles and burnt spoons lying around.. wait a minute.”
It's not a crack house it's actually really cosy apart from all the heroin needles and burnt spoons lying around.. wait a minute
— Tiernan Bradley (@Tiernan_Bradley) August 9, 2017
A source close to McGregor who requested anonymity laughed at the characterization of the dwelling as a crack house, pointing out it has seven bedrooms, a bunch of TVs and air conditioning.
“I’m not sure what Paulie’s used to, but nobody else has complained,” the source said.
Malignaggi left the camp Thursday night and returned to New York. He said he was disappointed because he only wanted to do his part to help McGregor prepare for one of the best fighters of all time.
“I didn’t ask for any special treatment, and I didn’t try to negotiate my price beyond what they offered the first time,” Malignaggi said. “I just wanted to put my best foot forward to show my goodwill toward his camp. But he’s the kind of person you can’t trust. I don’t associate with people like that. I don’t need to be the richest or most famous person in the world. If I can pay my bills and have a comfortable life, which I do, I’m totally fine with that.
“It was frustrating because I just went there to help. I wanted to put my best foot forward to help him get prepared. This all came out because he put me in this position. I thought it was a shame, but again this is a guy with no shame, ethics or morals.”
— Paul Malignaggi (@PaulMalignaggi) August 4, 2017
The issue of the photo started with their sparring session Aug. 1. Malignaggi said one of McGregor’s photographers snapped a photo after McGregor had pushed him to the ground out of frustration.
Malignaggi said McGregor direct-messaged him the photo on Twitter without comment on Aug. 2, and the photo then surfaced on social media Aug. 3.
“He waited a day, and my opinion is the sparring session we had Tuesday probably burned at him for that whole day and he just couldn’t hold it in anymore so he posted it on Thursday,” Malignaggi said. “He caught a beating from me on Tuesday, and unfortunately I think that led to the demise. He’s a very arrogant person.”
Despite all that, Malignaggi didn’t completely eviscerate McGregor’s ability as a fighter.
He is saving some of his thoughts for his work as a commentator on the Showtime broadcast of the fight, but he said McGregor doesn’t box like a beginner.
“He’s not like a guy who just started in the gym,” Malignaggi said. “He has combat experience. He’s taking a style all his own and mixing what he has from that experience into boxing. It’s never going to be a traditional boxing style. It’s very unique. Having said that, there are things he’s doing I don’t agree with that I won’t get into. I’ll do that on fight night.”
Contact Adam Hill at email@example.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @adamhilllvrj on Twitter.