Retired boxing champion Paulie Malignaggi is no stranger to expressing controversial opinions, and the 40-year-old did it again in an exclusive interview with Heavy about his upcoming involvement in a bare-knuckle boxing event. “The Magic Man” revealed he would be using his time on the mic as the color commentator at BYB 6 on July 16 to help “educate” MMA fans that might be tuning in to the fights that night.
“Unfortunately, MMA fans are probably the dumbest fans in combat sports, so I hope to bring that education to them in my commentating, to help them understand what they’re watching,” Malignaggi said.
Later in the interview, Malignaggi doubled down on the rhetoric. He said about MMA fans, “the crowd is probably the dumbest in sports”.
You can watch the full interview below.
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Malignaggi Explains Thoughts About MMA Fans
Malignaggi explained his way of thinking by saying that he believes the MMA community is more about watching action than it is about understanding technique.
“I think MMA fans love all the kicks and love the high-flying action of the MMA world, but they don’t actually understand any of it. Maybe they took a couple of jiu-jitsu classes, and they understand some grappling, but as far as the standup of boxing goes, they definitely don’t understand any of it,” Malignaggi said.
Despite what most would consider inflammatory language about MMA as a whole, Malignaggi expressed that he hopes he can help teach those same fans about striking and about how boxing works in general.
“Overall, it’s an ignorant crowd, but, of course, I look at it like a blank canvas, and if you can help mold them and help them understand it better, I think it’s a great thing,” Malignaggi said.
Malignaggi will be calling the action alongside former UFC and Bellator commentator Mike Goldberg at BYB 6 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
The card will be streamed live via YouTube on July 16.
Unlike most pro fights that take place inside enclosures with four (boxing) or eight (UFC) corners, the BYB fights take place inside a triangular ring. Known as the “Trigon”, the three-sided boxing ring is hailed by promoters as the smallest ring in combat sports.
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Malignaggi Offers Examples To Support His Controversial Thesis
When offered the idea that maybe most fight fans have never actually participated in MMA or boxing and that some things can only be learned by doing, Malignaggi wouldn’t quite get on board.
“There’s a lot of things that unless you’ve done it, you’d never know it. A lot of people get offended when you say that…but I think it’s very simple to understand. I don’t see why people would be so stupid as to not understand it,” Malignaggi said.
Malignaggi offered an example about “distance” and “range”. He noted how important the concept is, how fighters set it up, and why it’s important for them.
“A lot of boxing fans don’t understand this, but probably all MMA fans don’t understand this,” Malignaggi said.
Moreover, Malignaggi said it didn’t take any experience at all in any combat sport to grasp the idea.
“I don’t think you need to have fought to understand that,” Malignaggi said.
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