Conor McGregor seems to be almost as good at igniting feuds as he is at mixed martial arts at this point. Move aside Floyd Mayweather and Khabib Nurmagomedov, because the current dispute to come to the forefront for the Irish UFC star is with boxer Paulie Malignaggi.
A week after McGregor repeatedly mocked Malignaggi for "bitching" about the sparring sessions between the pair in 2017, during the build-up to the Mayweather fight, the now-retired professional boxer went on a rant about the Irishman. As far as he's concerned, McGregor returning to complain about what went down with him is akin to sexual feelings.
"It's kind of weird now because if he’d just put out the video then everyone would stop talking about it," Malignaggi said in an interview with Behind the Gloves.
"I’m starting to really think this guy has a thing for me, it's kind of a weird vibe I’m getting from him. Why do you want me to think about you so much when I don’t need to think about you? Why am I still on your mind? Why wouldn't you just put out the video and we can both forget about everything because everybody can make up their own minds about the sparring?
"This is not homophobic or anything but I'm starting to feel like it's a weird gay thing. As a man I have my rights and I don’t like another man coming on to me like that. I don’t go that way and I have the right to be a straight man if I want to be. I don't feel like I want to go that way but I feel like he wants me on his mind.
"Again, if he just puts out the video then we can both go our separate ways and let everybody make up their minds. I think he has this curiosity about me and he’s seeing if he can pique my interest in him but I don't go that way, Connie."
First of all, 'this is not homophobic or anything' is a phrase that is usually followed by something pretty homophobic. Secondly, however he puts it, it looks like Malignaggi is looking to push McGregor's buttons with this particular 'insult' rather than actually let him down easy.
"The guy’s gay though, and I don’t have anything against that but I'm not gay so don’t come at me that way please, I have rights as a straight guy. Don’t sexually harass me this way. I want to go my own way. God bless, you can do what you want; if your wife knows you suck cock you can both be in on it together.
"I don’t care if you suck cock or not but I don't want you going near mine, I don't want to discuss that but I'm starting to feel that if he doesn't want to fight me but wants to keep bringing me up, that's the only thing that this could possibly be.
"This could be some closeted issue that he has that he needs to come out and face. I'm sorry but I don't have that issue and I don't want to go that way with him."
Malignaggi has continued to demand that the entire footage of their sparring sessions be released, to clear up once and for all who came out on top of their exchanges that day. McGregor's coach has suggested that a fight between the two of them is a possibility in the future, but there is nothing confirmed between them yet.