Legendary boxing referee Joe Cortez was acting as the official during the sparring session where UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor supposedly dropped Paulie Malignaggi.
The referee now looks back on the incident and in his mind, it was nothing more than a freak thing.
“I wasn’t about to make any ruling on it because sparring is sparring,” he said on The MMA Hour. “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. 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.”
Malignaggi immediately left the McGregor camp after a photo was released of him potentially being dropped by the MMA fighter.
Cortez even suggest that if the two still have a problem with each other, then they should settle it in the ring.
“Let’s make a fight with Paulie and McGregor – why not do that?” he said. “If they want to settle the score, let’s make the fight happen with those two. That would be a war and a fight that fans want to see. Malignaggi can shut him up, or McGregor can shut Malignaggi up.”
While McGregor’s next move isn’t known at this time, the retired boxing star has stated that he must fight the MMA star now.