A couple Instagram posts made late last week left the combat sports world in complete disarray.
On Friday, UFC president Dana White released two video clips on his personal Instagram account from the infamous sparring session between UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor and former WBA and IBF boxing champ Paulie Malignaggi. The footage instigated an intense debate among fight fans about whether the Irishman had knocked or pushed down Malignaggi in preparation for his Aug. 26 boxing match with Floyd Mayweather.
However, although the knockdown was the main focus of the conversation, the footage also brought up some other interesting questions to the table, including the ethics and etiquette behind sharing sparring content to the public.
Well, Heather Hardy, who knows how both worlds operate – as she holds the WBC International female featherweight title in boxing and also competes in MMA under the Bellator banner – believes there is an unspoken rule about capturing and sharing sparring content and disagrees with White’s decision to have made the videos public.
“There is an unspoken code,” Hardy told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour. “I know that when girls come out and spar me, and if I see video cameras coming, they always say, ‘this is for my personal use, I’ll never put it up on Instagram. It’s just so I can learn from it,’ and I’m like, ‘of course,’ but it’s something you say.
“I remember once a girl was like putting it up and didn’t tell me anything and I felt a certain type of way, so I wouldn’t start sparring until she shut it off. You don’t know what people are going to do, they might do stuff like this, so it’s totally an unspoken kind of rule.”
As to whether Malignaggi was pushed or knocked down by McGregor, the undefeated Hardy finds her self on the latter camp, but not without speculation, as the majority of the sparring footage still remains undisclosed.
“It looked like a knockdown, it did,” Hardy explained. “But I say that to say this: There was 45 minutes of sparring that we didn’t get to see.
“People can take a snapshot or 15 seconds of some of my fights – which I’ve said they’re very physical – like you can probably look at 10 pictures from my MSG fight and be like, ‘there is no way Heather won,’ because I did get hit a lot and I often get hit a lot but it’s not telling of the whole story. If Paulie is saying, ‘wait until you watch the whole tape,’ then okay, let’s wait and see the whole tape. Anyone can make something out of nothing. But does it look like he got knocked down? Yes.”