Retired boxer Paulie Malignaggi was never a big name (expect maybe among hardcore boxing fans), but his name lit up the headlines when he famously walked out of Conor McGregor’s training camp ahead of the Irishman’s marquee bout with Floyd Mayweather.
Malignaggi was brought in as a sparring partner, but quit after reports emerged that McGregor had knocked him down repeatedly. Maliganaggi disputes those claims and demanded that the sparring footage be released (it wasn’t). He was then signed on to do fight night analysis for Showtime, and that was the end of that.
Or so we thought.
McGregor actually entertained the idea of fighting Malignaggi, who will be 37 next month, either in a boxing ring or the UFC octagon. However, that fight isn’t likely to happen since McGregor really needs to defend his UFC lightweight championship soon or risk it being stripped due to inactivity. So Malignaggi is angling for another big name, although one much less accomplished in the MMA ranks — CM Punk.
Punk (real name: Phil Brooks) is a former WWE world champion and was legitimately one of the best professional wrestlers of his era. He left the wrestling business in 2014 and announced he would be attempting to forge a new career in MMA. One very lopsided loss to youngster Mickey Gall later and Punk was basically finished in the UFC. But maybe a bout with the equally inexperienced Malignaggi actually makes sense.
He was asked on Twitter about the possibility, and revealed that his representation has begun the discussion with UFC president Dana White.
Serious Question. Do you ever see you and CM getting it on in the ring or is there just to many complications?
— ScottCallard (@ScottCallard89) October 13, 2017
It happens if he wants it. I have spoken to my team, like Mayweather I am with Al Haymon. I know Haymon has reached out to Dana White. https://t.co/oHSKMi1PqE
— Paul Malignaggi (@PaulMalignaggi) October 13, 2017
Malignaggi is managed by Al Haymon, the same guy who represents Floyd Mayweather. Haymon and White just worked together on one of the richest fights in the history of combat sports, so maybe they have a newfound ability to get along and make things happen. If nothing else, there’s at least a slim chance of this actually happening.
The UFC haven’t released CM Punk, despite the fact that offering him a second pro fight doesn’t seem to be in their plans. Maybe they are just waiting for the right opponent so that he doesn’t get completely embarrassed again. Malignaggi could be that guy.