Sports: Conor McGregor's sparring partner has quit after feeling 'exploited'
Just over three weeks remain before the big Mayweather-McGregor fight in Las Vegas.
Conor McGregor is determined to prove that he's a serious boxer, but recent accusations from one former champion of the ring won't help his cause.
On Thursday evening, former two-division world champion Paulie Malignaggi announced that he will no longer serve as McGregor's sparring partner, citing misleading photographs of a recent session that surfaced online. McGregor, who has never boxed as a professional, sparred with Malignaggi on two occasions to prepare for his upcoming fight with Floyd Mayweather.
"I came to help this camp out, not to be exploited," Malignaggi said on Twitter.
On Tuesday, McGregor and Malignaggi engaged in what would be their final sparring session. Several photographers and cameramen, mostly from McGregor's camp, were present, and Malignaggi wasn't happy when he saw the photos that wound up surfacing online.
The images show a bruised and bloodied Malignaggi, with McGregor recording a successful knockdown. But two days later, Malignaggi claimed that the session was a much closer match than what was portrayed.
It seems that even after an inconsequential gym session, Malignaggi still had his pride to worry about. The Brooklyn native claimed that he was not allowed to bring in any of his own photographers, though he said there was a camera crew from the UFC present.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Malignaggi said that "Conor & I have a mutual respect inside the ring, earned from each other with some good work over 2 sparring sessions." However, he told ESPN on Thursday night that he wanted to distance himself from the entire situation.
"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," he said. "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."
The McGregor camp has yet to respond to Malignaggi's challenges. Both men will be in Las Vegas on August 26 for McGregor's big debut.