WATCH: Knockdown or not? Malignaggi goes down in McGregor sparring
MANILA, Philippines - What happens in the gym stays in the gym. That is unless the fight has lofty pay-per-view expectations to live up to, and what happened in the gym makes the underdog look more credible.
That's why UFC head honcho Dana White released footage of Conor McGregor appearing to drop former boxing world champ Paul Malignaggi in sparring leading to the two-division UFC champion's August 26 fight against Floyd Mayweather.
Photos of the leak and the characterization of Malignaggi being knocked down caused the New Yorker Malignaggi to storm out of McGregor's training camp, calling McGregor a "scumbag" as he asked for the full length sparring session to be released.
What was released are short clips which are flattering to McGregor, who is making his boxing pro debut, and not so much so to Malignaggi, who retired after being knocked out by unheralded British fighter Sam Eggington in March of this year.
One professional referee consulted on the video says that the action would constitute a legitimate knockdown due to a punch being landed as Malignaggi went down, but that it was not a particularly devastating one which would give McGregor an ego boost heading into his fight against the heavily-favored and unbeaten Mayweather (49-0, 26 knockouts).
"It was more of a drag-down knockdown," says the referee.
What isn't known is what kind of shape the 36-year-old Malignaggi had been since retiring, and what happened after Malignaggi went down.
Predictably, Malignaggi wasn't happy with the release, calling it "half push, half trip", tweeting "as a whole he got his ass beat that session but never will they release." He claims the video was edited to remove the aftermath, which was referee Joe Cortez calling it a slip.
But after reports of slower-than-expected ticket sales, anything helps. – Rappler.com