Leaked sparring clip won’t calm tensions between McGregor and Malignaggi

UFC star Conor McGregor addressed the controversy that arose in his training camp when sparring partner Paulie Malignaggi angrily departed Las Vegas last week and dished on what had transpired in the gym.

An hour later, the footage of the most controversial moment between the fighters was released online.

Malignaggi, a retired former world champion boxer, was irate at a photo that had been put out on social media that appeared to show him being knocked down by McGregor during a sparring session.

He called the photo misleading and urged McGregor to instead release the video that he insisted would show he had been pushed or tripped and not knocked down.

Malignaggi did several interviews about the incident, also claiming McGregor was mistreating his sparring partners by housing them in a “dilapidated crack house.”

A rep for McGregor laughed at that claim, telling the Review-Journal the house he was referring to had seven bedrooms and a pool.

McGregor said Friday Malignaggi may have been confused due to all the hits he took to the head in the gym.

“He was looking for an exit,” McGregor said during a media workout at the UFC Performance Institute. “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 rounds.

“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.”

While Malignaggi had called for the entire 36-minute session to be released, UFC president Dana White put out two short clips from the session which had been filmed at the UFCPI.

McGregor appeared to land several good punches, though the knockdown in question appeared to happen after a bit of a push on Malignaggi’s head.

“Pushing my head down with right hand as he’s (dragging) me in that direction by it then throwin the left, the push down is with right hand,” Malignaggi posted on Twitter. “What I been saying still holds true, he (won rounds 11 and 12) of which he shows footage and the “knockdown” is right hand (dragging) me down. (Release all) 36 min.”

Malignaggi was particularly angry at White.

“You (expletive) you were actually there and saw all 12 rounds,” Malignaggi wrote. “Really you (expletive) cue ball (expletive) fraud? Kissin my (expletive) after the 12 rds.”

Malignaggi is expected to be part of the Showtime broadcast of the fight.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @adamhilllvrj on Twitter.

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