UFC President Dana White Posts Video of Conor McGregor Knocking Down Paul Malignaggi in the Ring

Amid concerns over Conor McGregor's ability to survive in the ring against Floyd Mayweather, UFC president Dana White released two videos from McGregor's sparring sessions with Paul Malignaggi. On Friday, The Notorious held an open workout at UFC headquarters in Las Vegas where he put some odd training techniques and slow heavy bag speed on display for those in attendance. 

White also responded to the people doubting McGregor's boxing skills by posting two videos of The Notorious sparring with Malignaggi, including a clip where it appears Conor knocked down the former world champion. 

Earlier this month, Malignaggi abruptly quit as McGregor's sparring partner after photos from their session leaked. The former boxer claims he was pushed in the photo showing him lying on the mat with Conor standing over him.

The circus leading up to this fight is nearly coming to a close. Mayweather and McGregor will finally meet in the ring on Aug. 26.

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Floyd Mayweather’s Sparring Partners Explain Why He’s Going to Destroy Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor has been having a tough time with his sparring partners in the lead-in to his fight with Floyd Mayweather. After initial reports that training sessions had turned violent and “out of control,” the man tasked with helping him prepare for Mayweather eventually walked away, calling McGregor a “dirtbag” on his way out the door.

Though he's known for his motor mouth, Mayweather's camp has been quiet as church mice in comparison. But don't mistake that for timidity or a lack of confidence, because if you ask the fighters Mayweather is working out with right now, McGregor has absolutely no chance against the undefeated, undisputed champion.

In an interview with Dotun Akintoye of ESPN The Magazinethree prominent fighters—DeMarcus Corley, Zab Judah, and Errol Spence Jr.—discussed what makes Mayweather such a great fighter. From the sound of things, they don't think a first-timer like McGregor has any chance against a lifer like Mayweather.

“He's been programmed from Pampers,” said Corley. “He breaks the will of fighters. After a few rounds, you realize it's not what you thought it was going to be. You can't do what you want to do to him. You start questioning yourself. How can I get this guy? What is he doing that I can't catch him?”

Corley would know. Not only has he trained with Mayweather, he was dominated by him in a 2004 fight in which Mayweather knocked him down twice and scored a unanimous decision victory. Judah met the same fate in 2006, when not even a low blow on his behalf could stop Mayweather from completely outclassing him. He emphasized Mayweather's preparation level when describing how hard it is to get close to him, let alone beat him.

“He lines up like 15 to 20 sparring partners at a time. I've known him since we were amateurs,” said Judah. “He's always done over and beyond what the job consists of. You can't beat someone who's not going to get tired…He studies your background down to your kids, your wife, who your mama is, who your daddy is. He doesn't watch fights; he prepares for the person. Sometimes when you learn the person, you don't have to learn how they fight.”

This paints a stark contrast between Mayweather's prep for the bout and McGregor's. Paulie Malignaggi, the sparring partner who angrily stormed out of McGregor's camp, insisted that McGregor would only deal with one sparring partner at a time, forcing one guy to go a full 12 rounds. With Mayweather constantly battling fighters with fresh legs, the preparation level doesn't even sound close.

And in case the words of a couple former opponents don't mean much, one of Mayweather's sparring partners is a current champion. The aforementioned Spence is the current IBF welterweight champion, standing on top of his division with a 22-0 record. And even he is blown away by Mayweather's focus in the ring.

“His eyes are always open. Your mind can't wander; it's a mental workout as much as a physical workout,” said Spence. “Fighters throw punches at him, and you see him looking. He moves just enough and never overreacts to a punch. You never see him rattled. When you go back to the corner, he's looking at you, seeing if you're tired.”

That doesn't sound like a boxer who's going to be bested by a converted MMA guy. Hate Mayweather if you want, because there are plenty of legitimate reasons to, but never question his aptitude in the ring. He has flawless numbers and near universal respect from anyone who has stood across from him in the ring, but he's still in the gym working as if he is the one with something to prove.

To see what else Mayweather's sparring partners had to say about him, go here. You can also hear why some other boxing experts are betting on Mayweather to make light work of McGregor here.

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Conor McGregor’s Sparring Partner Quits Abruptly Over Controversial Photos

Paulie Malignaggi claims he didn’t intend to steal the spotlight when he agreed to fly to Las Vegas earlier this week to take part in a sparring session with Conor McGregor. But that’s exactly what the former world champion has done over the last few days.

On Tuesday, a report came out indicating that Malignaggi had been involved in a sparring session with McGregor that got “out of control.” A day later, Malignaggi spoke with several media outlets, including ESPN, and confirmed that report. He also said that he was involved in a second sparring session with McGregor on Tuesday that included “a lot of violence.” And on Thursday night, Malignaggi continued to make headlines when he abruptly announced that he was no longer going to help McGregor in the weeks leading up to his Aug. 26 fight with Floyd Mayweather.

“I wanted to be part of this event, but I didn’t want to become the story, and that’s what this has turned into,” Malignaggi told ESPN. “I won’t release any information about his game plan or what he’s working on—I wouldn’t do that. But this has become a fiasco. It’s a circus.”

Malignaggi isn’t simply upset over all of the media attention he has received this week, though. Rather, he’s upset because a couple photos surfaced on Thursday afternoon that appeared to portray McGregor in a very favorable light during his sparring session with Malignaggi. One of them, captured by UFC photographer Brandon Magnus, shows McGregor hitting Malignaggi in the face:

Another photo, which was taken by one of McGregor’s personal photographers Dave Fogarty, shows Malignaggi on the ground as McGregor stands over him:

It’s important to note that McGregor himself didn’t post either of the photos on social media. But Malignaggi is still upset about the fact that they got out. He’s also upset about how they seem to suggest that McGregor knocked him down when he says that, in reality, he ended up on the ground after McGregor pushed him. He has urged McGregor to release a video of their sparring session to show what really happened in the ring:

Malignaggi also released a lengthy statement on Twitter late Thursday night and revealed that he will no longer work with McGregor moving forward because of the photos:

And since releasing that statement, Malignaggi has stuck to his guns and refused to back down from the allegations he made over the photos in question, even as he has been hounded by McGregor fans online. Malignaggi has responded to many of those fans on Twitter on Friday morning:

There’s no way McGregor is going to release any video of his sparring session with Malignaggi. Not this close to his fight with Mayweather, at least. So we’ll probably never know the whole truth behind the photos that have Malignaggi so riled up. But in one interaction with a fan on Twitter on Friday morning, Malignaggi said he suspects McGregor’s camp knew all of this controversy was going to take place long before it did:

That may or may not be true. But either way, this dramatic McGregor/Malignaggi storyline is adding even more intrigue to the Mayweather/McGregor fight, and we’d guess that both fighters are thrilled about it.

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Former World Champion Confirms Sparring Session With Conor McGregor Included ‘Lot of Violence’

The Floyd Mayweather/Conor McGregor fight on Aug. 26 might not turn out to be as entertaining as people are hoping it will be. But it sure sounds like there’s been plenty of action taking place during McGregor’s training camp in the weeks leading up to the fight.

A few weeks ago, a report emerged about how McGregor had apparently been knocked out by a sparring partner during a ring session. Then, earlier this week, another report emerged about how a sparring session between McGregor and former world champion Paulie Malignaggi had to be stopped after it got “out of control.” And during an interview with ESPN late Wednesday, Malignaggi confirmed that things have, in fact, been “intense” when he’s stepped into the ring with McGregor.

Malignaggi said that he has actually sparred with McGregor twice now. And according to him, McGregor improved quite a bit between the first sparring session he had with him and the second one.

“I think the intensity Conor’s reaching is starting to show in the hard work he’s putting into camp,” Malignaggi said. “I think he’s getting better and better. I really felt improvements from two weeks ago to now…I do see a guy who is implementing more and more of what they want to do in their game plan.”

But Malignaggi also said that, during a sparring session on Tuesday that saw the fighters go at it for 12 rounds, things got chippy between the two. He felt like McGregor’s camp ambushed him by making him fight for so long on relatively short notice.

“Lot of violence,” Malignaggi said. “I went in there to prove a point. I didn’t like the fact I had to fly across the country on Monday, and they have me scheduled for 12 [rounds] on Tuesday. I thought it was a little bit of a setup. Usually, all sparring is private. I show up at the UFC headquarters and [former UFC owner Lorenzo] Fertitta is there. Dana White is there. So I’m thinking these guys are thinking they’ll catch me right off the flight, set me up for him to look good in front of his audience. I didn’t like that. I kind of went in with a chip on my shoulder.”

Malignaggi said that he and McGregor have a “mutual respect” for one another right now. But he also suggested that there’s been no love lost between the two when they have gone to battle.

“I don’t think we’re going to be best friends anytime soon,” he said, “but there was a lot more mutual respect after that kind of work [Tuesday] night. It was a lot more intense than the first one.”

In addition to speaking with ESPN, Malignaggi did a video interview with TMZ Sports and showed off some of the marks on his face from his sparring session with McGregor. He stopped short of saying that McGregor has overwhelming power in the ring, but he did give him credit for packing some pop in his punch.

“Conor doesn't have bad power,” he said. “It's not 'Oh my god' power…but it is respectable power.”

The Mayweather/McGregor fight might not ultimately live up to all of the hype surrounding it. But it sure sounds like Malignaggi and McGregor are giving those watching their sparring sessions a real treat.

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Conor McGregor Fires Back at Floyd Mayweather for Issuing Interesting Challenge to Him

On Tuesday night, just hours after a report emerged about how Conor McGregor’s recent sparring session with former world champion Paulie Malignaggi got “out of control,” Floyd Mayweather used his various social media accounts to issue a challenge of sorts to McGregor.

Originally, Mayweather and McGregor were both supposed to wear 10-ounce boxing gloves for their match on Aug. 26. That would, in theory, present some difficulties for McGregor, who is used to wearing 4-ounce gloves during UFC fights. But on Tuesday, Mayweather revealed that he would be willing to give McGregor an “advantage” by coming down slightly and wearing 8-ounce gloves in the ring. He also said that he’s open to doing whatever he has to in order to make McGregor feel “more comfortable” boxing so that the two fighters can “give the boxing and MMA fans what they want to see.” You can read his entire post here:

McGregor should have been thrilled with Mayweather’s decision to move from 10-ounce to 8-ounce gloves. Lighter gloves would allow him to rely on more of his power in the ring. But early Wednesday, McGregor fired back at Mayweather and said that he doesn’t care what size gloves they ultimately end up wearing. He also took aim at Mayweather’s “brittle hands” in a post he put up on Instagram and said he is “prepared to destroy” Mayweather when they fight:

The fact that Mayweather and McGregor are now going back-and-forth with one another over glove size might seem petty, but this was actually one of the bigger issues during the negotiations for the fight. Because McGregor is used to wearing lighter gloves in the UFC, he fought to have the gloves for the fight be as light as possible, while Mayweather argued that, if McGregor was going to step into his world, he should be prepared to do it in heavier gloves.

But despite what either fighter wants, it sounds like the Nevada Athletic Commission may have the final say as to what size gloves are used for the Mayweather/McGregor fight. According to ESPN, it’s likely that the commission will force the fighters to wear 10-ounce gloves during their match since that’s what they agreed to wear in their original contract for the fight. So all of the most recent trash talk between Mayweather and McGregor might not even matter in the grand scheme of things.

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Conor McGregor’s Sparring Session With Former World Champion Reportedly Stopped After It Got ‘Out of Control’

Since the fight itself is probably going to be one of the biggest letdowns you can imagine, savor the news about Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor while it lasts. The latter is almost completely unprepared for a boxing matchup of this caliber, though the people around him want to make sure you know he's putting in an elite effort to make up for his inexperience in the ring.

The latest word on McGregor's very serious, not at all overblown training regimen comes through Joe Cortez, a veteran boxing referee who was brought in by the McGregor camp to teach the MMA fighter what the rules of boxing are. The official claimed during an interview with Rush 93 on Sirius XM that during a sparring session between McGregor and Paulie Malignaggi, a former world champion in two weight classes, things went a little too far.

It was the real thing, I had to stop the action, ‘you guys are a little out of control here, you’ve got to stop this.’ You know, they got a little rough. They were both roughing each other up and I had to stop the action like it was a regular fight.

They were holding too much, they were trying to punch each other. So I had to call time, 'alright guys you’ve got to stop this right now, I want a good, clean, strong, give me a sportsman like conduct, you understand?’

If you can get past the fact that someone in a $100 pay-per-view fight had to bring in someone to teach him the fucking rules of the sport, maybe you'll be impressed by the intensity shown by McGregor as he tunes up for Mayweather. There are legitimate reasons to attack McGregor's boxing credentials, but desire is not one of them. 

The intensity between the two likely stems from comments made previously by Malignaggi, who degraded McGregor's ability as a power puncher during an interview with Jim Rome in late July. “I mean granted, with small fight gloves he will hurt you, but it’s not ‘Oh My God’ power where every time he touches you you’re like my goodness, this is very uncomfortable,” said Malignaggi. “It’s not that kind of power, but it’s good enough.”

McGregor is a prideful guy, so you can bet he took that comment to heart, wanting to prove something to his sparring partner.

The more cynical view—which I'm very much here for—is that McGregor has zero experience in a boxing sparring session, so he doesn't really know where to draw the line when it comes to backing off the guy he's working with. If you need any evidence about how little it says about his boxing acumen, go watch old sparring sessions between Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes, two of the greatest fighters of all-time, in which they were able to put in a ton of work without acting like crazy people.

Mayweather hasn't posted any sort of workout videos on his Instagram since he shared footage in late June that made McGregor's routine look silly in comparison. In the same period, McGregor has posted a seemingly endless number of shirtless workout photos, as if to convince either himself or others that will be the difference when they step in the ring in late August.

Forgive my skepticism, and I know they have a fight to promote, but don't talk about it, be about. Handle your business, and we'll all see what the end result is on Aug. 26. 

Send all complaints, compliments, and tips to sportstips@complex.com.

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