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Paulie Malignaggi signs with Bare Knuckle FC, promoter says fight with Artem Lobov ‘could make a lot of sense’

Aaron Chalmers and Paulie Malignaggi Training Session Photo by James Chance/Getty Images

Bare Knuckle FC just made some “Magic.”

Former boxing champion Paulie Malignaggi has signed a contract to fight for the bare-knuckle fighting promotion, it was announced Thursday in a press release. Malignaggi, a Brooklyn native, is a former two-division champ in boxing and continues to be a well-known name in the sport due to his broadcasting work. “Magic Man” is expected to make his Bare Knuckle FC debut in June.

Malignaggi, 38, last competed in boxing in 2017, falling by eighth-round knockout to Sam Eggington in a WBC International welterweight title bout in England. He was on a three-fight winning streak prior to that.

”BKFC is the new wave in combat sports,” Malignaggi said in a statement, per the release. “They’re doing great things and I’m very excited to be a part of this organization. I’ve accomplished some big things in boxing career, and I look forward to what this next phase brings. After a long boxing career, it’s easy to miss the limelight and the rush that combat brings. I look forward to getting back in action and the new challenge of fighting for BKFC.”

Malignaggi made a lot of headlines two years ago when he was brought into Conor McGregor’s training camp to be a sparring partner to help McGregor prepare for his boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. Malignaggi and McGregor had an ugly break, leading to a long war of words on social media and in interviews. There remains controversy over whether or not McGregor dropped Malignaggi in sparring or not. The feud has remained heated.

Interestingly, McGregor’s longtime friend and training partner Artem Lobov also recently signed with Bare Knuckle FC. He will fight UFC veteran Jason Knight on April 20 in Biloxi, Miss.

Helen Yee of NBC Sports Radio reported that Malignaggi would fight Lobov next if Lobov beats Knight. Bare Knuckle FC president Dave Feldman told MMAFighting that bout is not confirmed, but “could make a lot of sense.”

”This is a great signing for Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship,” Feldman said of Malignaggi in the release. “At this time in our company’s growth, we needed to add a legitimate and well-established world champion boxer to our roster, and I believe with Paulie’s ability and personality we’ve done just that. Paulie is the perfect fit for us.”

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