The Wildest Conspiracy Theories About the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor Fight

Even if you're actively trying to avoid the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor, chances are you've developed a firm stance on the bout by now. There are very few people out there who are thinking to themselves, “You know what, I think I need more information before I take the plunge on the pay-per-view fee.” And if you are still thinking that, I'd have to ask you what the rock you've been living under is like.

Every possible angle has been exploited. We've talked about Mayweather's domestic violence, McGregor's history of racism, their sparring partners, sexual habits, even the damn suits the fighters have worn to press conferences. And now all that's left to debate is one simple question—who's going to win?

The odds are heavily in Mayweather's favor, and why wouldn't they be? He's 49-0 and one of the best boxers of all-time, facing a near amateur in a new sport. That should be the start and end of it, but to keep themselves interested in the fight, a lot of observers are clinging to crazy beliefs, hoping the fight will somehow live up to their expectations. I get it, because you're not going to drop $100 on a pay-per-view if you're just expecting a mundane win from Mayweather.

So for those of you trying to search for a reason to care about the fight, here are a few conspiracy theories people have. They might make it worth tuning in!

Mayweather will throw the fight to make more money

From Mayweather's perspective, this might make the least sense of any theory, because he has everything to lose going into the fight. Though it has been overshadowed by the trash talk, Mayweather has a chance to pass Rocky Marciano's mythical 49-0 record and go to 50-0, a number that is revered within boxing circles. Several prominent fighters have fallen just short of equaling or passing that number, including heavyweight great Larry Holmes, who lost his 49th fight in a controversial decision to Michael Spinks. It's a number that matters deeply to boxers, even if it doesn't to casual fans.

And yet, this might not be the biggest thing on Mayweather's mind. Should he lose to McGregor, it would set up another huge payday in a subsequent fight. Mayweather will reportedly make a minimum of $100 million for this fight, and that number could multiply depending on how the sales for the bout play out. Would you be able to turn down making a sum of money like that a second time, knowing all you had to do was lose once?

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There's reason to believe Mayweather has motivation to extract as much money out of this as possible. He has had to issue denials that he's in trouble with the IRS, and he will reportedly have to use a big chunk of the McGregor fight money just to pay off his past tax liabilities. It would stand to reason that these issues might keep popping up, since at this point they seem to occur no matter how much income Mayweather generates.

Assuming Mayweather would win the second fight, throwing the first one would likely set up the pair of fighters for a third bout way down the road, and trilogies tend to be huge draws, because you see a real rivalry build over time. These are big assumptions—but again, you just have to follow the money, and both fighters would be set for life if they brought in the sort of revenue they're about earn for just the three potential fights.

Mayweather might not even have to do this on his own. He tends to fight for decisions, and any time you can put the outcome in the hands of just a few people, there's a chance for shenanigans. 

McGregor has only been pretending to be a bad boxer

Yes, some people truly believe that McGregor hasn't actually shown what he can do. The belief is that the guy who is a professional fighter and constant trash talker actually wants you to believe he's unequipped to be a boxer, and will use that reputation to surprise Mayweather on Saturday night.

You really have to believe in this to think McGregor has a realistic chance against Mayweather. Sparring partners of McGregor's have shared footage of them working out with the converted MMA fighter, and McGregor looks pretty bad.

The footage looks so bad, in fact, that Mayweather's camp even sort of believes it's not legit. That's what the fighter's team said during a radio interview in June, claiming their camp would not slack in their fight preparation even if McGregor looks bad on the tape.

“I looked at it, but to me it looked [like] it’s a possibility it could be staged,” said Mayweather's trainer, Nate Jones. “We don’t fall for that, we prepare for anything. Please believe me, I looked at it and I came up with my opinion that it could have been for real but it could have been staged. I don’t know. His style is a different style from Floyd. I don’t want nobody messing with Floyd. He may be more difficult than Floyd’s gonna be for him.”

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That's exactly the problem with believing the footage is staged: Mayweather's camp doesn't really care what it looks like one way or the other. He didn't amass a 49-0 record by taking his opponents lightly, and Mayweather has consistently noted McGregor will be a threat when interviewed about the fight. He's confident in his ability, but he has given no indication of slowing down or easing up on his opponent.

The styles comment from Jones is interesting, though, because of one theory a lot of fans seem to have about the fight.

McGregor will use an MMA move at some point during the fight

As the old saying goes, you can't teach an old dog new tricks. McGregor deserves respect for his accomplishments as an athlete in his sport, but that doesn't mean he can break the habits that have been built into him over years and years of training.

Sports books are banking on the expectation that McGregor reverts to MMA tactics, and are taking bets on whether he'll throw a kick or an elbow during the fight. It makes a degree of sense, because while he has been exclusively training as a boxer for months now, you can't truly plan for how you'll react once you start to get fatigued. Should he get desperate in the later rounds, maybe he lashes out with a kick at Mayweather's ankles.

This idea has popped up repeatedly among fight fans, who have discussed the possibility for months.

The big reason this probably won't happen? It would cost McGregor a fortune. UFC boss Dana White has said from day one that any sort of MMA moves are strictly forbidden.

“There is no way that will happen. That is absolutely in the contract, number one. Number two, this is a boxing match under the rules of the Nevada State Athletic Commission,” said White. “When you talk about a guy like Floyd Mayweather, the lawsuit if that ever happened… You all know how much Conor likes money. Conor would depart with a whole lot of money if that ever happened.”

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No amount of laughs McGregor would generate by busting out a kick would fill the hole in his bank account. This isn't happening, but there's one more wrinkle to consider.

Mayweather and McGregor might be in on this whole charade together

If Mayweather throwing the fight on his own isn't crazy enough for you, boy do we have a conspiracy theory for you! There are people out there who believe the fighters may be working behind the scenes to set up the best possible outcome for their futures, which would necessitate Mayweather taking a proverbial dive. But it would need to look real for it to not be an obvious fix, so it would necessitate both guys planning for the possibility ahead of time.

Other world-class athletes are worried about that exact possibility. Golfer Rory McIlroy was asked about the fight over the weekend, and his concern is that we're all being fooled by the circus.

“I just fear that they do all this trash-talking and they go behind the scenes and they are having a laugh and thinking: I can’t believe we are talking all this public for a ride,” said McIlroy. “We are all buying into it and they are like, can you believe these people believe this? I just hope it doesn’t turn into it and I hope it’s not in any way fixed.”

Count Terry Crews in the fix camp too. He told TMZ that he believes the two fighters are “trying to get another one,” and believes McGregor will ultimately get a decision victory to set up more fights in the future.

Boxing is a sport with a reputation for shady dealings; in early July, Manny Pacquiao lost a controversial decision to relative unknown Jeff Horn, despite most boxing analysts believing Pacquiao had won the fight easily. There have been countless examples of similar shady decisions over time, and this is a real possibility in a fight with hundreds of millions of dollars on the line.

Never, ever rule out corruption in the boxing world. Mayweather may give McGregor the beat-down most expect, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll walk away with a victory on the scorecards. 

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Jon Jones May Be Stripped of His UFC Title After Failing Another Drug Test

So much for a Jon Jones comeback. Less than a month after his UFC 214 victory over Daniel Cormier, the 30-year-old MMA fighter has, once again, tested positive for a banned substance. Sources say Jones is now at risk of losing his title.

According to MMAFighting.com, Jones tested positive for the anabolic steroid turinabol, which could result in a suspension spanning more than two years. TMZ reports Jones will be stripped of his title with the belt going back to Cormier. UFC president Dana White announced that a decision has not been made.

“He has not been stripped yet but he has got to go through the process,” White told the Sun.

The UFC released a statement on the matter:

The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Jon Jones of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an in-competition sample collected following his weigh-in on July 28, 2017.

USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Jones, as it relates to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and future UFC participation. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) also retains jurisdiction over this matter as the sample collection was performed the day before Jones' bout at UFC 214 in Anaheim, CA, and USADA will work to ensure that the CSAC has the necessary information to determine its proper judgment of Jones' potential anti-doping violation.

This is the second time Jones has tested positive for a banned substance. In 2016, he was slapped with a one-year suspension after clomiphene and letrozole were found. He insisted he failed the test because he took a male enhancement pill without knowing it contained a banned substance.

“I have always maintained my innocence and I am very happy I have been cleared in any wrong doing pursuant to the allegations made that I had intentionally taken a banned substance,” he said in a statement. “I am pleased that in USADA's investigation they determined I was ‘not a cheater of the sport.’ Being cleared of these allegations was very important to me.”

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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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Why Conor McGregor Actually Has a Chance Against Floyd Mayweather

Oddsmakers aren’t giving Conor McGregor much of a chance against Floyd Mayweather. Neither are those in the boxing world.

We already ran down reasons why McGregor (almost assuredly) will not beat Mayweather when they meet Aug. 26. For starters there’s the obvious like McGregor’s extreme inexperience and Mayweather’s standing as one of boxing’s living legends. But there are a few legit reasons why the McGregor, a 4-1 underdog, actually has a chance to pull off the upset.

We’ll start with the age difference. Having turned 29 July 14th, McGregor will enter the ring with 11 years on Mayweather and will undoubtedly be the quicker and more athletic fighter. The speed Mayweather was known for in his prime, throwing and landing punches at a blindingly fast pace and dodging his opponents' punches like he's Neo from “The Matrix,”  is a thing of the past.

“This is not the elite Floyd Mayweather,” says ESPN boxing analyst Teddy Atlas. “He’s 40 years old. He’s been away from the game for two years. He took the fight on short notice. Those things should be accounted for. They will be accounted for.”

McGregor, the bigger man, will look physically imposing standing next to Mayweather when they weigh-in on the Friday before the fight. In his prime and already ripped, McGregor will be an Adonis while Atlas contends that even though Mayweather will look impressive, he can already see Father Time taking his toll.

“In a 12-round fight, Conor McGregor, who is the bigger, younger, stronger guy, needs to hit Floyd Mayweather and hurt him.” — DANA WHITE

“His body doesn’t even look the same,” says Atlas. “It’s got that softer look when you get a little older. The muscles have changed a little bit. To the eye that knows to look at that stuff it’s noticeable.”

Even if Mayweather might be a tick slower than we’re used to seeing, nobody expects McGregor to outbox one of the greats. But it’s the unknown that could earn the MMA star the unlikely win. Screwy things happen in boxing all the time—and we’re not even talking about some messed up judge’s scorecard. What if a cut opens over the eye of Mayweather from an inadvertent headbutt? What if Mayweather fractures his hand on a punch and is essentially reduced to a one-armed fighter? Boxing fans know Mayweather’s reputation for having brittle hands.

“I’ve seen Floyd fracture both hands in a fight,” says Mayweather CEO Leonard Ellerbe. “I know Conor McGregor is bigger, stronger, thinks he’s faster, and thinks he’s going to knock Floyd Mayweather out. But any damn thing can happen. Floyd could cross his head in the fourth round and not be able to use his right hand.”

Even when his fists aren’t giving him problems, Mayweather isn’t exactly a knockout artist (his career knockout percentage: 53). McGregor, on the other hand, is known to possess impressive punching power. While his devastating blows have come wearing 4 oz. gloves in UFC fights, the 10 oz. gloves he’ll wear against Mayweather won’t do much to slow down the speed of his punches or diminish their power. The question is can McGregor land a clean shot on the chin of the best modern defensive boxer who has never legitimately been knocked to the canvas as a pro?

“He’s not a boxer. At the end of the day, Conor McGregor is a fighter,” UFC president Dana White said back at the July 13th press conference at Barclays Center. “In a 12-round fight, Conor McGregor, who is the bigger, younger, stronger guy, needs to hit Floyd Mayweather and hurt him.”

And maybe play some mind games. It’s widely expected that McGregor will be the aggressor while Mayweather will be content to play defense and pick his spots. What if McGregor played it cool and conservative the way, according to Atlas, he’s won matches in the UFC, making Floyd come at him?

“Use those principles of trying to be careful and thoughtful and contemplative before you just walk into something then Floyd doesn’t have the foil that he needs,” says Atlas. “[Floyd] needs that caveman so he can bang, bang, bang, catch him coming in and catch him with counters.” 

The bottom line is McGregor doesn’t have an easy path to victory and deep down he has to know that. But it’s not inconceivable if the right things happened that he could pull off the improbable upset. It’s boxing. It’s sports. Crazier things have happened than a 4-1 dog getting the w. 

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Why Conor McGregor Doesn’t Stand a Chance Against Floyd Mayweather

Ask those around boxing if Mayweather-McGregor is good for the sport and they’ll give you different answers.

Some think it’s great. Others think it’s nothing more than a farce that only a sucker would pay $100 on Pay-Per-View to watch.

But the one thing those closely associated with boxing can almost universally agree on is the idea that Conor McGregor, the MMA superstar who will challenge an undefeated Floyd Mayweather Aug. 26 in Las Vegas, has almost no chance of winning.

To them, it’s not a matter of if Mayweather will win, but rather how.

“If [Mayweather] wants to stop it in the first round, he can stop it in the first round,” four-division champion Adrien Broner told us last month.

McGregor is stepping onto Mayweather’s turf and agreeing to box him under very specific terms, so the list of reasons why so many in the sport refuse to give McGregor a realistic shot to hand Mayweather his first professional loss is long. And often extremely specific.

While McGregor and Mayweather circled each other for years before making the fight official in June, McGregor’s only been seriously training as a boxer for a few months. And from what we’ve seen on social media and heard from the mouth of his sparring partner Paulie Malinaggi, the results haven’t been particularly impressive.

The idea that a novice to the sweet science and all its nuances can just step into the ring and take down the legendary Mayweather, considered to be the best modern-day defensive boxer and among the all-time greats, is almost impossible to fathom.  

“When the bell ring nobody knows that squared circle like me. I know angles. I know where to touch you at. I know what you do good. I know what you don’t like. And I don’t have to watch tapes. That’s something I’m blessed with.” — FLOYD MAYWEATHER

“Not an insult, but there are C-class fighters in my business that I know would handle [McGregor] easily,” says ESPN boxing analyst Teddy Atlas. “This is the lowest level fighter [Floyd’s] probably ever fought. I’m not trying to insult MMA guys or McGregor. I think McGregor’s a genius. But at the end of the day this is not an elite athletic contest that some people want to believe it is.”

It’s the simple things, many point out, that will likely doom McGregor. Jermall Charlo, who awaits his shot at the winner of the Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez fight in September, is not the most neutral of observers considering his ties to Mayweather Promotions. But speaking from a strictly analytical perspective, the 28-year-old rising star thinks McGregor’s footwork will cross him up.

““I don’t think technically McGregor stands a chance,” says Charlo, one of boxing's top middleweight contenders. “He's going to trip over his feet more than he’s going to get in shots. He’s going to be all sloppy all over the ring and hopefully he don’t get frustrated to throw an elbow or kick in there and get disqualified.”

Reportedly there are financial reasons outlined in the contract as to why it would be in McGregor’s best interest to not do that. But how much will McGregor, who has been programmed to punch, kick, grapple, and violently force his opponents to submit, be forced to suppress those natural instincts? And how will he adjust to fighting 12 rounds, three minutes at a time? McGregor’s used to fighting fewer rounds and much briefer segments.

“The reason Conor shouldn’t have a chance is he’s not a professional fighter,” says Atlas. “He’s never competed at this realm. He does it in segments, but not for 12 rounds. Mayweather does it for an eternity.”

Those who think McGregor has a chance, or believe he will win, point to the age difference, size difference, and his impressive punching power. But Atlas, having studied McGregor, thinks the x-factor will be the altered persona McGregor carries into the ring. 

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Image via USA Today Sports/Steve Flynn

The first two-division champion in UFC history has, according to Atlas, won by playing it conservatively. The way Mayweather has played defense and expertly waited for his opponents to open themselves up to a counter is the same strategy McGregor has expertly deployed. Against Maywether, he’ll have to be the aggressor.

“McGregor is going to put his fangs out and he’s going to sink them into Floyd. Guess what? He’s not that guy,” says Atlas. “The funny thing is he’s more similar to Floyd than he is to the guy they’re promoting. His mentality is to be careful. I did my homework. His biggest wins are off the counter, being intelligent, being careful, being conservative, being Floyd!”

Whether Mayweather, at age 40, has enough power in his fists to knockout McGregor remains to be seen. Many think Mayweather will simply outlast McGregor over 12 rounds to capture an easy decision. With his 49-0 record on the line and massive expectations riding on him, Mayweather has a lot more to lose than McGregor. But in typical Floyd “Money” Mayweather fashion, he's not particularly worried.

“He can come at me different ways, it’s not going to work,” Mayweather said after the July 13th press conference at Barclays Center. “When a guy is across from me, you know what he has to say to himself? ‘Damn, I’m fighting Floyd Mayweather.’ When the bell ring nobody knows that squared circle like me. I know angles. I know where to touch you at. I know what you do good. I know what you don’t like. And I don’t have to watch tapes. That’s something I’m blessed with.” 

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Here’s the Story Behind That Floyd Mayweather Knockout Mural Conor McGregor Has in His Gym

Back in late June, about a week after his fight with Floyd Mayweather was officially announced, Conor McGregor trolled the undefeated boxer by showing off a gigantic mural that was painted on the wall in his gym in Dublin, Ireland. The mural featured McGregor punching Mayweather in the face and quickly took the internet by storm.

In the days that followed, several details about the mural came out. A Dublin-based art collective called Subset released a statement to Yahoo! Sports and revealed that they were behind the painting. They also let loose that it was McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh who asked them to put it together, and described the process in an interview with Versus.

Additionally, this video of McGregor seeing the mural for the first time surfaced. He looked blown away by the art and was clearly surprised by it when he walked into his gym.

But in an excellent new ESPN the Magazine cover story on McGregor by Wright Thompson, Kavanagh told the whole story behind the painting and revealed why he decided to have it painted on the wall at the gym when McGregor first started training for his fight with Mayweather.

According to Kavanagh, he first learned that McGregor and Mayweather were going to fight at about the same time that the rest of us did. McGregor texted him on June 14 and told him the fight was on, only a short time before he took to social media to let the rest of us in on the news.

And when he did, Kavanagh quickly realized that despite the fact that McGregor would be preparing to fight one of the best boxers of all time, he hadn’t gotten around to putting together a boxing gym where he could train yet. So Kavanagh sprung into action and created a gym in just four days.

To do it, Kavanagh called the owner of his MMA gym and asked to borrow an abandoned car dealership located nearby. Then, he cleaned it up, hung a sheet to create some separation between the dealership’s showroom and the repair bays in the back, and got the water and electricity up and running. He also had a boxing ring shipped from England to Ireland by boat. Finally, he decided that he was going to hire Subset to paint the mural of McGregor punching Mayweather to complete the space.

Thompson reports that Subset knocked it out in just one session, paint fumes be damned:

The artists laughed the first time they saw the space, wondering what Floyd's gym must look like, making jokes about Rocky training in the snow. The mural got painted freehand in one 12-hour burst, the fumes leaving the painters bent. Kavanagh wants that image to work in Conor's mind.

While speaking with ESPN the Mag, Kavanagh also talked about what happened when he showed McGregor the painting for the first time. You can see his reaction in the clip above, but Kavanagh said the big reveal didn’t go as planned at first. It seems McGregor thought the guys from Subset were in his gym to jump him when he first walked on. And one of the Subset members, who spoke with ESPN the Mag, said that that led to an awkward first encounter with McGregor. The member said he had never met anyone like McGregor before.

“I’d never been in someone’s company before who was purely male energy,” the Subset member, who was not identified by name, said. “There was no female energy. And not in a macho way. He wasn’t fronting up. He’s running off this raw, food chain, evolution, strongest-survive energy. He’s cold. That’s what he’s like. He was open, a gentleman, but he’s cold at the base of it.”

Thompson’s entire piece in ESPN the Mag provides an interesting look into how McGregor got to where he’s at today. We all know McGregor hails from Ireland and endured a lot before finally landing in the UFC. But Thompson takes a look at everything from McGregor’s past ties to local gangs in Dublin to his disdain for the upper class in Ireland to provide some context for why McGregor is the way he is now. You can check out the whole story 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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Floyd Mayweather Might Pull Off Ultimate Troll Move When He Walks to Ring for Conor McGregor Fight

Over the course of the last few months, Conor McGregor has managed to turn trolling Floyd Mayweather into a science. He has figured out all sorts of different ways to troll the undefeated boxer, and he has, up until this point, owned Mayweather in their ongoing war of words. But could Mayweather pull off the ultimate troll move just minutes before the two fighters get into the ring on Aug. 26 in Las Vegas?

Love & Hip Hop star Jason Lee—who is a TMT member and who once conducted a really insightful interview with Mayweather for his Hollywood Unlocked show—spoke with TMZ Sports on Tuesday and suggested that Mayweather might have something up his sleeve. It seems Lee is from Stockton, California, the hometown of McGregor’s UFC rival Nate Diaz. So when Mayweather walks out to the ring for his fight with McGregor, Lee said he might have someone in his entourage that McGregor won’t want to see.

“Listen, I don’t know, but I’m from Stockton, California and I was just in London with Floyd when the whole shit went down with Conor,” Lee said. “And I’m gonna make a call to Nate Diaz. I would love to see him walk out with Floyd.”

Lee didn’t definitively say that Mayweather will bring Diaz out to the ring with him. But if he did decide to do it, it wouldn’t be all that surprising. Back in December, Mayweather FaceTimed with Diaz to trash talk McGregor and shared a video of it with the world. And Mayweather has also gotten into the habit of trying to troll his opponents during his ring entrances in the past. Who can forget when he showed up for a fight with Oscar De La Hoya like this?

Mayweather hasn’t spoken on the idea of him bringing Diaz out to the ring with him for the McGregor fight just yet. But Diaz looks like he would be down. He himself has trolled McGregor on social media on several occasions in recent weeks:

 

Little bitches 🖕🏼👋🏼 Got your ass beat You lost bitch . Im the champ…

A post shared by natediaz209 (@natediaz209) on Jul 9, 2017 at 8:13pm PDT

Whether Mayweather ultimately decides to ask Diaz to escort him to the ring or not, Lee said that there’s one TMT member who probably won’t be walking Mayweather out. TMZ Sports asked him if there’s been any talk about asking Justin Bieber to do the honors, like he has in the past. Lee said it’s not going to happen.

“Nah, Bieber found Jesus and he’s somewhere prayed up,” he said.

Lee also made it sound like Bieber might not really be down with TMT anymore, even though he stopped short of confirming it.

“I don’t want to officially say that,” he said. “I just want to say I don’t see Bieber walking out with Floyd.”

You can check out Lee’s full TMZ Sports interview in the clip above.

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