Photo: Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

Conor McGregor needs a new sparring partner.

Paulie Malignaggi, a retired boxer with a 36-8 record over a 16-year career, told ESPN Thursday that he was quitting McGregor’s camp after photos surfaced of Malignaggi on the canvas during a sparring session.

Advertisement

“I wanted to be part of this event, but I didn’t want to become the story, and that’s what this has turned into,” Malignaggi told ESPN. “I won’t release any information about his game plan or what he’s working on; I wouldn’t do that. But this has become a fiasco. It’s a circus.”

Sparring partners are, by nature, supposed to be silent, but Malignaggi is part of the media and loves to talk. He was upset about this week’s session, when he had to fly across the country on Monday and spar with McGregor for 12 rounds on Tuesday. He didn’t like that UFC brass was present at something which was supposed to be private. And now he doesn’t like photos that came out of the session showing Malignaggi down on the canvas.

Malignaggi has requested the entire 12-round session be posted for everyone to see. “I do want that sparring video released,” he told ESPN. “The UFC’s PI definitely has that video. I understand it can’t come out now, but Conor, if you have any balls, release what really happened.”

Malignaggi released a statement late Thursday announcing his decision to leave.

Just more drama for the biggest spectacle, if not sporting event, of the summer.