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Paulie Malignaggi on ‘Little Engine That Could’ Conor McGregor: ‘Now we’ve gotta fight’

There are two things that happen when a pair of fighters have bad blood, Paulie Malignaggi said on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani on Monday.

Either, they fight each other — try to hurt each other with smaller gloves — or they just ignore each other, never mention the other’s name and don’t give them any media attention.

Malignaggi doesn’t know what Conor McGregor’s angle is after his messy split from McGregor’s camp two weeks ago.

“This weirdo didn’t do either of these things,” Malignaggi said. “He constantly puts me in the press with these edited videos, edited pictures and whatnot. Now, it’s picked up a ton of momentum. So yeah. So now the bad blood is there. Now, we’ve gotta fight.”

Malignaggi announced two weeks ago he would be leaving McGregor’s training camp for Floyd Mayweather after the continued leaking of sparring photos that Malignaggi felt were trying to make him look bad. Malignaggi slammed McGregor last week on The MMA Hour, calling him “one of the biggest scumbags I’ve ever met.”

McGregor responded Friday during his media workout day, saying Malignaggi received head trauma from their two sparring sessions and the backlash was all “concussion talk.”

“When I heard the stuff he was saying, I was like, ‘That’s concussion talk,’” McGregor said. “The man was badly, badly concussed. Look at his face. He was busted up bad.”

Later Friday, UFC president Dana White released sparring footage between the two men on social media. It appears that McGregor knocked Malignaggi down in one clip, but Malignaggi maintains that it was a push down — that McGregor was holding down his head and then let go, making Malignaggi lose his balance.

Malignaggi said Monday on The MMA Hour that the footage released was heavily edited and even he had to watch it a few times before he could remember exactly what happened. The former two-time boxing champion said White needed to put the video out Friday because McGregor looked like a “joke” during this media workout.

“It became like a running joke in boxing,” Malignaggi said. “They had to kind of cover it up in some way, shape or form. So nice job. Nice edit — it was a nice, Hollywood edit. I thought it was adorable, I thought it was cute. But at the end of the day, every day you start to see holes in this little story.”

Malignaggi said he feels like McGregor is trying too hard to make people think he can beat Mayweather that he and his team are fabricating stories. The Brooklyn native said no one else wants to go spar with McGregor after the treatment given to Malignaggi.

“How are you gonna prepare to fight Floyd Mayweather without your sparring?” Malignaggi said. “He doesn’t want to look like the running joke of boxing, but he’s making himself the running joke of boxing without even trying. If he stopped trying so hard and being ‘The Little Engine That Could’ and just trained and did his thing, none of this soap opera would even be up. Have you heard anything from Floyd Mayweather’s camp?

“I like the guy. He’s adorable. He’s cute. He’s trying so hard to tell people he’s gonna win this fight and legitimize himself. He’s trying to prove so hard he’s a puncher, because all these MMA fans tell me he’s a big puncher. You can tell he believes it.”

Malignaggi said McGregor doesn’t hit as hard as people — or he himself — thinks he does.

“He’s been given this false sense of security like he’s some kind of crazy puncher that people really believes everything he hits breaks down,” Malignaggi said. … “You better learn to punch if you’re gonna be a puncher. This isn’t mixed martial arts anymore.”

Malignaggi thinks he knows the move McGregor was trying to pull in what he believes was a push down. And he said “The Notorious” didn’t even do it correctly.

“He actually doesn’t know how to make the move,” Malignaggi said. “When I get to Vegas, I’m gonna do some video interviews. I’m gonna show people how to actually use that dirty move. It’s a dirty move, but you don’t even know how to do it. He’s actually so stupid, he didn’t do it right.”

With all of this heat between the two of them and the fan interest, Malignaggi said he now knows how big a fight would be between them. He proposed on Twitter fight on St. Patrick’s Day 2018 in New York.

“I understand this business very well,” he said. “I’ve done well in this business, not just in the sport. I’ve done well in the business. I understand how this works very well. My eyes went to the calendar when I saw how much this is buzzing.”

Whether the fight happens or not, Malignaggi is not sure. He said it all hinges on what McGregor, who has never boxed professionally, looks like against Mayweather on Aug. 26 in Las Vegas. Malignaggi will be there working for broadcasters Sky Sports and Showtime.

“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s not up to me. Right now, I’m focused on how he looks against Mayweather. If he looks like dog shit against Mayweather, I don’t think anybody is gonna want to see him box again. So first and foremost, we have to see what happens the 26th, how it happens the 26th as well.”

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