Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures… Has Paulie Malignaggi Joined BareKnuckle FC Just to Call Out Conor McGregor Again And Again And Again? Probably…
In news that shocked the combat sports world this week, we found out that Paulie Malignaggi had agreed on a deal to fight for BareKnuckle FC. You know who we’re talking about – they’re the first legal bare-knuckle boxing promotion in the US, and have been on a fast rise over the last year.
While they’ve mostly signed up former UFC and Bellator veterans looking to make a buck after being released from the biggest MMA promotions, they’ve also tried to raise their profiles by signing up some bigger – and more controversial names. Former WBA and IBF champion Malignaggi is surely their biggest signing so far, even if he’s 38 and hasn’t fought for 2 years.
Conor McGregor’s teammate Artem Lobov is on the books and set to fight Jason Knight in April. He’s already being linked to a match with Malignaggi if he wins, but ‘The Magic Man’ is calling out Conor McGregor on social media already. Yeah, good luck with that.
— Paul Malignaggi (@PaulMalignaggi) March 7, 2019
Malignaggi has borne a grudge against McGregor ever since footage of him being knocked down during a sparring match was released in the run-up to the Irishman’s fight with Floyd Mayweather. The New York native was infuriated by the clip that went viral and stormed out of ‘The Notorious’s’ camp. He has jibed back and forth with McGregor on social media ever since.
In his latest tweet, Malignaggi took aim at McGregor’s gas tank by calling him out to fight under bare-knuckle rules. He tweeted:
“Conor the coward @TheNotoriousMMA with 2 minute rounds I’m sure even YOU can’t quit at this! Time to settle it. @bareknucklefc.”
There’s literally about as much chance of Conor McGregor fighting Francis Ngannou as there is of him taking on Malignaggi with no gloves. We’ve already been told that the Irishman is refusing to fight for the UFC unless it’s in the main event. BareKnuckle FC can’t afford him, and he definitely doesn’t want to risk taking savage damage with all the money he has in the bank.
The bare-knuckle boxing rules are as stripped back as you can get. While they follow boxing scoring, the fighters only have their wrists wrapped up. Broken hands and minced up faces are guaranteed at BKFC events, which so far have taken place in Wyoming, Mississipi, and Cancun, Mexico.
BKFC is definitely trying to push the boundary between the niche and the mainstream. While it’s going to be a long time before they get anywhere near the same level of exposure as the major MMA promotions, you can see exactly what they’re trying to do. They’ve got Artem Lobov and Paulie Malignaggi there in the hopes that McGregor will attend one of their events.
There’s literally no better promotion they could ask for. “The Notorious” is famously volatile, charging into cages to celebrate with his teammates, and even going as far as to shove referee Marc Goddard back in 2017. Even if he didn’t do anything controversial and just tweeted or Instagrammed to his fans, that’s still a massive deal to BKFC. Their Instagram account had 70,500 followers at the time of writing.
McGregor has 30.4 million. That’s nearly 8 times the population of his native Ireland.