By: Jesse Donathan
Holy Moly, Paulie! Did you really say that? According to a May 21, 2019 MMAFighting.com article titled, “Morning Report: Paulie Malignaggi attacks ‘piece of (expletive)’ MMA community, explains why he wants to put Artem Lobov in ‘a (expletive) coma’,” author Jed Meshew writes that former two time professional boxing champion Paulie Malignaggi told former UFC fighter and Conor McGregor confidant Artem Lobov that he was going to, “take my (expletive) out and (expletive) on you,” after he had defeated the game Russian fighter.
Malignaggi, the former Conor McGregor sparring partner who famously took issue with the selective video clips released to the public of his sparring sessions with McGregor by the Irishmen’s camp in the lead up to McGregor’s mega payday fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. reportedly spit on Lobov, threatening to put the Russian in a coma according to reports.
Author Jed Meshew would go on to write that according to the former champion, “Lobov and the mixed martial arts community have really disrespected my sport in a lot of ways; boxing, saying that we fight with pads on and it’s not a real fighting sport and what not, but we have all the deaths,” Malignaggi told FightHype.com.”
“We have more of the deaths by a long shot,” said Malignaggi. “We have more of the permanent damage by a long shot. This is not to diminish the danger of mixed martial arts or any other combat sport, but there is a reason why boxing has more deaths and more traumatic brain injuries in one night, because we are the most dangerous combat sport,” writes Meshew.
And I am not sure Malignaggi is going to find too many people willing to disagree with him, at least not anyone who knows what they’re talking about. According to mixed martial arts referee “Big” John McCarthy and Sean Wheelock on episode two of their December 09, 2015 podcast “Let’s Get it On!” the veteran mixed martial arts referee expressed a similar opinion to Malignaggi on the comparison’s between the two combat sports.
“MMA is more violent, but I will tell you that boxing is more damaging,” said McCarthy. “Overall, if you look at the sport boxing is incredibly damaging, because we really only have two targets that we attack. And 90% of the fighters go after the head 90% of the time. And so, we have just concussive blows to our head happening over and over and over and over again.”
In McCarthy’s estimation, “Our brain is the most important element that we have and so, if you’re going to say what’s the most damaging between all the sports, it would be boxing.”
According to MMAFighting.com, “At the end of the day, you can just [tap] and it’s over,” says Malignaggi of mixed martial arts. “In boxing, if you sit on your stool, you’ll never live it down the rest of your career.” Highlighting just a few differences between the two sports that may not always get airtime, but which are spot-on true, nonetheless.
Malignaggi has likely spent too much time on mixed martial arts message boards, which while moderated, are still thankfully the wild west of fan-based opinion. Though according to some conspiracy theorists, those same message boards are weaponized by various entities to include fighters and promotions alike to social engineer ideas and trains of thought.
In other words, Malignaggi might be surprised to find out who is in fact on the other end of some of the comments he has taken issue with. Usually just teenagers and young adults, there is a dark underbelly to the online world where a war of words instead of fisticuffs is waged by those with very partisan motives.
While Malignaggi is most certainly positioning for a potential fight and lucrative payday with Conor McGregor, a fight I would be very much in favor of seeing, it helps to understand this is the promotion game no matter how classless, yet real it may all seem. I’m sure Malignaggi’s mother didn’t raise him to talk this way, though it has certainly managed to capture the headlines however uncomfortable and unfortunate they may be.
Current WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder recently made waves when he threatened to beat opponent Dominic Breazeale to death in the ring. Seemingly in an attempt of one-upmanship, Malignaggi is riding the coat tails of Wilder’s success in an effort to be equally as outrageous and headline turning.
Unfortunately, the only place to go from here is down as the Springer like atmosphere continues to capture the public’s imagination and interest. As the saying goes in the world of promotion, there is no such thing as bad publicity. Just promising to have a good, clean fight isn’t going to keep the lights on. The public wants to see that the athletes have bad intentions and the fighters feed off the publicity this kind of behavior generates as a result. Its business as usual in the fight promotion game, only I wouldn’t mind seeing a little bit more tact and class.