Malignaggi says his reps in talks with McGregor
By Sean Jones: Paulie Malignaggi is saying that his adviser Al Haymon has been in talks with UFC president Dana White about a fight between him and Conor McGregor. Malignaggi, 36, is hoping to get a fight against McGregor in the boxing ring.
McGregor has already called out Malignaggi to fight him in the octagon, but he has no interest in doing so. Malignaggi wants the fight under the rules of boxing only.
McGregor already tried his hand at boxing for the first time in facing superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr. on August 26 in their novelty fight in Las Vegas, Nevada. The fight brought in a massive number of pay-per-view buys, which are still slowly being tabulated. The final PPV buys could be well over 4 million. McGregor vs. Malignaggi obviously wouldn’t be nearly as high, but it wouldn’t be surprising if it brought in over 1 million buys on PPV. McGregor and Malignaggi are both good talkers. Their press conferences would be interesting to watch for most boxing and MMA fans, as long as the fight can get made.
McGregor would likely still make more money fighting Malignaggi than he would fighting in the octagon. McGregor hasn’t fought in the UFC for almost a year now, and he’s going to need to return to action soon in order to defend his titles and keep his skills up. McGregor can’t afford to have his skills get rusty on him like we saw with Ronda Rousey, who spent a lot of time out of the octagon after she hit it big. McGregor is supposedy going to be reurning to the UFC before the end of the year.
Thus far, McGregor has nothing scheduled for his return to the octagon, which makes you wonder whether his interest in competing in the sport is starting to wane. McGregor made over $100 million for his fight against Mayweather in the boxing ring. That total dwarfs the money McGregor made during his career in his fights in the UFC. If McGregor can make even half of that total facing Malignaggi in a boxing match, it might be well worth it. McGregor would be getting the lion’s share of the loot in a fight against Malignaggi. It would be a much different story than in his fight with Mayweather.
McGregor could literally hog the revenue in a fight with Malignaggi. My guess is a revenue split between McGregor and Malignaggi would be tilted 80-20 in favor of the UFC star. It might even go 90-10 for McGregor. Malignaggi isn’t a PPV guy, so he would have to accept the scrapings pretty much. Even 10 percent of the revenue against McGregor would be bigger than anything Malignaggi has made before inside the ring.
“I know Al Haymon’s talking to Dana White. If they want the fight, they’ll make it,” Malignaggi said to FightHype. “I don’t need to do all of that because Al Haymon makes anything he wants happen, happen. The only way it doesn’t happen if this guy doesn’t have any balls. This fight will pay him more, this fight will get him more exposure – this fight is a bigger fight than anything else he has. There’s no more Mayweather fight, this is the biggest fight there is.”
Malignaggi was one of McGregor’s sparring partners recently in helping him get prepared for his fight against Mayweather. However, Malignaggi didn’t last for than 2 sparring sessions before he stormed out of the camp, unhappy with photos of the sparring being released to the boxing and MMA press. The photos showed Malignaggi getting the worst of it. He was on the canvas in one of the photos with McGregor standing nearby looking as if he’d just put him down. In another photo, Malignaggi, looking puffy faced and weak beaten, was defending against the bigger McGregor. It wasn’t a flattering photo of Malignaggi. His face looked like he’d been taking punishment. Some people believe the real reason Malignaggi left McGregor’s camp is because he was getting worked over by the UFC fighter during the sparring sessions. Indeed, clips of video released later would seem to confirm that belief, as Malignaggi was taking withering fire from McGregor and doing very little to keep him off. That was only a clip of the sparring though.
Malignaggi wants the entire sparring video to be released by Team McGregor, which thus far hasn’t happened. I don’t think it ever will. The small clip that has been released will likely be the only video that the boxing and MMA public will ever see of the sparring that took place between McGregor and Malignaggi. Unfortunately for Malignaggi, it doesn’t make him look good.
McGregor has a lot of different options available to him for his next fight and/or event. He can go back to the octagon to resume his MMA career, he can take part in an WWE event or compete in boxing. The easy money for McGregor is to fight Malignaggi in boxing, but that fight will take time to be put together. It’s not going to be a quick fight to negotiate. In the meantime, McGregor will likely be back with the UFC in late 2017 or early 2018. If Malignaggi is going to get a fight against McGregor, it could possibly get made in 2018. It won’t be worth it if the fight is staged in 2019. People will have forgotten about Malignaggi by then.
Hand-picking Malignaggi instead of an active boxer would seem to indicate that McGregor is looking for a soft touch to give himself a better chance of looking good and winning. McGregor would gain fans if he can pummel Malignaggi in front of the world, as the casual boxing and MMA fans might see that and believe that he’s beaten one of the best fighters in the world. McGregor would bring in more money if he picked out someone good like Saul Canelo Alvarez or Gennady Golovkin. The problem with that is it would likely end badly for McGregor with him getting knocked out quickly in 1 or 2 rounds depending on how long Canelo and Triple G would want to let him survive.