Home News Conor McGregor vs Paulie Malignaggi Sparring “Got Intense”

Conor McGregor vs Paulie Malignaggi Sparring “Got Intense”

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Conor McGregor
(Conor McGregor, photo: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Hall-of-fame boxing referee Joe Cortez was hired by Conor McGregor’s camp to prepare for Floyd Mayweather. He was brought in to help the UFC champ acclimate to boxing rules, and to oversee sparring and have fight simulations with a designated referee.

It was in one of those sessions with Paulie Malignaggi where Cortez says he had to step in and stop the action as it was getting too heated.

“He handled himself pretty good with Paulie. That guy can pop. He was in there mixing it up a little bit with Paulie and it was the real thing,” he told Sirius XM. “They was no messing around. In fact, I had to stop the action and I had to say, ‘Alright guys, you guys are a little out of control here, you gotta stop this.’ It got a little rough.”

The hosts then asked if it was McGregor getting the upper hand and roughing up Malignaggi.

“They were both roughing each other up and I had to stop the action like in a regular fight. They were holding too much, they were trying to punch each other. I mean, it got a little bit out of control where I had to call ‘Time!’

“(I said) ‘Alright guys, you gotta stop this right now. I want a good clean round. Give me sportsman-like conduct. Understand? I don’t want to take any points from either one of you. Do you understand??’ I looked at them and they said, ‘Okay, alright.’ And I said, ‘Time in.’”

Malignaggi mentioned in the past that the smack talk between him and Conor during sparring was pretty intense, and Cortez confirmed it as well.

“I had to put a stop to (the trash talking) as well,” said Cortez. “That’s part of why I had to stop the action.

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Aaron Portier
Highly passionate MMA Journalist, and I've followed the sport ever since my favorite fighter, Vitor Belfort won the heavyweight tournament at UFC 12. After that I've tried to go to every local MMA event around the Gulf Coast and surrounding areas and decided to make it a point to have a career in some aspect in the fighting sport other than fighting in general (didn't want to ruin my face). I'm currently enrolled at Southeastern Louisiana University working towards a degree in Communication. I cover MMA, Boxing and Football for The Daily Star newspaper in my hometown of Hammond, Louisiana, in addition to working as a promotional writer for a local Boxing promotion known as BoxnCar and I cover boxing for 8countnews.com however SciFighting.com is my home. My main goal is to bring more publicity to MMA in my area and to the sport as a whole as all of us involved with the sport are merely scratching the surface and laying the foundation of what mixed martial arts competition will be further down the road.