When it became known that Paulie Malignaggi would become a sparring partner to Conor McGregor in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, boxing fans gave a collective side eye.

Malignaggi (36-8), the retired former two-weight class world champion, is currently the go-to boxing commentator and analyst for Showtime Championship Boxing broadcasts alongside Mauro Ranallo and Al Bernstein. 

According to ESPN, Malignaggi abruptly left the McGregor camp due to controversy regarding leaked images of the "violent" sparring session.

"I wanted to be part of this event, but I didn't want to become the story, and that's what this has turned into," Malignaggi told ESPN by phone Thursday night. "I won't release any information about his game plan or what he's working on; I wouldn't do that. But this has become a fiasco. It's a circus."

Malignaggi told ESPN that he won't continue in McGregor's camp and likely will fly home. 

This was the most intense sparring session that I've ever seen 😯#ufc #boxing #conormcgregor #thenotorious #thenotoriousmma #lasvegas #ireland #mayweathermcgregor #nikon #ufcphotos

412 Likes, 22 Comments - Brandon Magnus Photography (@brandonmagnus_photo) on Instagram: "This was the most intense sparring session that I've ever seen 😯#ufc #boxing #conormcgregor..."

"And I do want that sparring video released. The UFC's PI definitely has that video. I understand it can't come out now, but Conor, if you have any balls, release what really happened," Malignaggi told ESPN. 

Malignaggi went on a Twitter campaign to set the record straight, imploring McGregor or the UFC Performance Institute to release video footage he says was captured.

Paul Malignaggi on Twitter

Its not nice 2 paint a pic that isn't true, this was a pushdown in sparring, post the whole video rounds 1 through 12 UNEDITED https://t.co/R82BLiMMVm

Paul Malignaggi on Twitter

Its not nice 2 paint a pic that isn't true, this was a pushdown in sparring, post the whole video rounds 1 through 12 UNEDITED https://t.co/R82BLiMMVm

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Paul Malignaggi on Twitter

I came to help this camp out, not to be exploited, now your gonna get the truth though. Post FULL UNEDITED VIDEO FROM TUES night #Ethics

In a statement issued via social media on Thursday, Malignaggi emphasized that he believes he and McGregor have "a mutual respect inside the ring" and that his decision was based on issues he disagreed with outside the ring.

"It's not my place to dictate terms in a training camp that is not mine, but it's my place to decide if I want to be a part of it," Malignaggi said in the statement.

Malignaggi has been emphatic that there were zero knockdowns during the session, but he said McGregor had shoved him to the canvas at one point.

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Veteran referee Joe Cortez, who has been hired to officiate the sparring sessions, has also commented on the back and forth, saying he has been forced to step in on several occasions to bring the fighters under control.

McGregor is the first fighter to hold belts in two weight classes simultaneously in the UFC. He was stripped of his featherweight belt but still holds the UFC lightweight championship title.

As the lead up to the big fight heats up, it is clear that all eyes are on McGregor and his marketing genius or madness.