By Chisanga Malata, courtesy of The Daily Star
CONOR MCGREGOR's recent callout of Paulie Malignaggi left many fight fans perplexed.
Late last month, twenty-nine-year-old McGregor challenged his former sparring partner to a mixed martial arts fight.
When discussing the possibility of having a rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr at a Q&A session in Glasgow, McGregor said: "He (Mayweather) did say an MMA fight. So if he wants to, let's f***ing do it. I know he's not going to. Not a hope in hell.
"Paulie on the other hand, he's talking enough s**t. I know he's stuck for some money. I know he's looking for a fight. He talking about balls (and saying) 'bring your balls', do this and do that. Bring your balls for a fight in a real fight."
The challenge stemmed from the war of words the pair have been engaged in ever since Malignaggi left McGregor's training camp for his August boxing match with Mayweather.
While McGregor's laying down of the gauntlet to Malignaggi was received well by his fans, it left many scratching their heads, none more so than 'The Magic Man'.
In Malignaggi's eyes, the UFC lightweight champion's decision to challenge him to an MMA bout rather than a boxing match, in which he can make more significantly money because of the Ali Act, is evidence he didn't get the better of him in sparring, something he's claimed multiple times over the last few months.
“I think, at the end of the day, if you use your brain, that also exposes him for what really happened in sparring. Because let’s face it, in boxing, you’re going to keep more money,” Malignaggi told Starsport.
“You have the Ali Act in the United States that’s going to force you to keep the lion share of the money you make in a fight. While in MMA, it’s a relatively new sport in the US, they do not have the Ali Act in place here in the United States. So you’re not going to keep the majority of your money.
“So boxing, automatically, will make him more money and will gross him more money. Then it will also him net him more because he’ll take a percentage of that money. Now if you make a nice gross in a boxing match, you can net a higher percentage of that money.
“So you’ll always make more money in boxing if the opponent draws enough.”
The recently-retired Malignaggi reckons he’s the biggest fight left for McGregor, other than a rubber match with Nate Diaz, who is seemingly holding out for a bumper payday.
He added: “Me and Conor McGregor generates a lot in boxing at this point, we all know it. We all know it draws a lot.
“This fight sells, the fight sells a lot. So if you do it in boxing, you’re going to make a ton of money, you’ll earn more money than you’ll ever make in the UFC.
“The only UFC fight that would rival this kind of money is the Nate Diaz fight. But, the Nate Diaz fight, you’ll have to pay Nate a lot more money than you’ll have to pay me.
“And the Nate Diaz fight is mixed martial arts so there is no Muhammed Ali Act involved. So you’d shift control of the splits. You’d have to split with Dana and you’d have to split with the UFC.”
According to Malignaggi, his advisor, Al Haymon has reached out to the UFC brass to try and see if they can make a fight between himself and McGregor happen.
“I know Al Haymon's talking to Dana White. If they want the fight, they'll make it," Malignaggi told FightHype.
"I don't need to do all of that because Al Haymon makes anything he wants to 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."
McGregor, Ireland's first UFC belt holder, hasn't set foot inside the Octagon since his historic UFC 205 victory over Eddie Alvarez, a triumph which saw him become the first fighter in the promotion's history to hold two titles simultaneously
The Dubliner's next outing inside the cage is expected to a lightweight title unification fight with interim 155lbs champion Tony Ferguson.