Saturday, November 27, 2021

Joe Cortez on McGregor-Malignaggi Sparring Incident: It Was a Freak Thing

Hall of Fame boxing referee Joe Cortez isn’t going to say whether or not Conor McGregor actually knocked down Paulie Malignaggi in sparring.

Cortez was brought to McGregor’s camp before the “Money Fight” with Floyd Mayweather. He was in the ring for two sparring sessions between McGregor and Malignaggi. He witnessed the infamous knockdown/push of Malignaggi.

During a recent appearance on MMAFighting.com‘s “The MMA Hour,” Cortez said he didn’t make a ruling:

“I wasn’t about to make any ruling on it because sparring is sparring. You can get pushed, you can slip or whatever, and I wasn’t about to call anything either way, it was just a freak thing that happened. I wasn’t even considering giving it a count. To me it was just an ordinary thing. It could’ve been a push, it could’ve been a slip. It was a sparring session, there was nothing I was considering about anything, it was just a little thing that happened.”

He went on to say that he can’t definitively claim Malignaggi was pushed either.

“I can’t say it was a push, I can’t say it was a slip – it was just something freaky that happened in there. During the clinch you could pull back and he could’ve went this way or that way. I respect Paulie. He gave it all he had during the sparring. We know and everyone knows that he came in to give McGregor…to polish up his skills for boxing.”

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