In the last few days, there has been a lot of tension between former two division world champion Paulie Malignaggi and UFC superstar Conor McGregor.
A few weeks ago, Malignaggi was hired as a sparring partner to prepare McGregor for the upcoming fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr., which is scheduled for August 26th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The relationship between the two fighters fell apart last week, after McGregor's team members released photos which gave the appearance that Malignaggi was knocked down and took a beating during the most recent sparring session. Malignaggi quit due to the fallout.
Malignaggi claims that McGregor and his team are trying to fool the public. The retired fighter says he beat down McGregor so badly that the UFC star pushed him down to the mat. McGregor claims he "whooped Malignaggi's ass."
There is one man who can set the record straight, Hall of Fame referee Joe Cortez.
Cortez was hired by McGregor to officiate the sparring sessions and to teach him the rules of boxing.
Since Cortez was there when Malignaggi and McGregor traded punches, he can reveal the details.
But according to Malignaggi, there was a gag order issued on Cortez - preventing him to discuss the last sparring session.
"Joe Cortez was the referee,’ Malignaggi told MMA Fighting. "You’ll notice that Joe Cortez after our first sparring was able to give an interview, saying it was very rough and there was a lot of trash talking, he had to get in between us to let us know we had to keep it clean.
"That went public. This time I’ve been approached by several different media and people and they’ve told me Joe Cortez is not at liberty to speak to them. How is Joe Cortez allowed to speak after the first sparring, but not after the second sparring? They gagged him. Because they know the main question everyone wants to know is was it a knockdown or not?
"And he’s the guy that’s going to answer no. In order to prevent that, in order to keep this stupid image going that he knocked me down, they’ve gagged him. That’s a big clue to what really happened. It’s kind of weird because I don’t think Joe would ever sit there and say Conor got his ass kicked. They’re very sneaky people."