A few days ago, UFC President Dana White spoke to the media and revealed that Showtime was sent video footage from the now infamous sparring sessions between UFC superstar Conor McGregor and former two division champion Paulie Malignaggi.
According to White,Showtime refused to run the footage as part of their "All-Access" series to promote McGregor's upcoming Showtime Pay-Per-View showdown with Floyd Mayweather - which takes place on August 26 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
White is claiming that Showtime didn't want to make Malignaggi look bad.
Malignaggi is part of Showtime's broadcast team and he will be part of the crew at ringside for the Mayweather-McGregor PPV.
“The last thing I want to do is get in a beef with Showtime, but we gave them a ton of the footage of the sparring, and they denied it because they didn’t want to make Paulie look bad,” White said. “They had a ton of the sparring footage, and they wanted to use zero (of it).”
Stephen Espinoza, the Executive VP and General Manager of Showtime Sports, paints a much different picture of what actually took place.
“Dana’s misinformed here because we were dealing directly with Conor’s team on this,” Espinoza told Sporting News. “We did not receive as Dana said, a ton of footage. We received a few short clips. Roughly a minute total which were provided by the Conor camp. We reviewed them and were very interested in using them and including them in “All Access”.
“But it was a series of sort of spliced-together McGregor highlights, eight or nine seconds each. We didn’t want to use the whole thing. It was sort of repetitive. We were told if we didn’t use the whole segment as they edited it then we couldn’t use it at all. So in the end, Conor’s camp withheld permission for us to use it. Otherwise, we definitely wanted to use it. There was no intent to protect Paulie. We just wanted to cut some of the clips because it was pretty redundant, repetitive stuff.”
In the last two weeks, one of the biggest side-stories to next Saturday's fight is the sparring session beef between Malignaggi and McGregor.
McGregor claims he battered Malignaggi and dropped the former world champion. His team released carefully selected photos and videos to enforce their statements. Malignaggi claims the images and short video clips are misleading of what actually took place in the full 36 minute sparring clash.