Cortez, the referee who oversaw the sparring sessions between McGregor and Malignaggi ahead of McGregor’s fight against Floyd Mayweather, says the dispute between McGregor and Malignaggi should be settled in a rematch for real.
I can tell you that I was there for 12 rounds with them and there was a lot going on. A lot of boxing fans and MMA fans want to know and I can tell you from being there that the fight should happen. It was very competitive. That is what I am saying. I know for a fact that it would make a good fight. It would be a better fight than McGregor vs Mayweather.
In Glasgow for An Evening With Conor McGregor event, McGregor reveals he would have been fined $10million (£7.5m) in his mega fight against Mayweather, had he been disqualified for an illegal move, as many people were predicting, prior to the contest. McGregor:
Here’s when I knew I was up against it: The ref was like, even if I lift my leg up, it’s a point deduction. I’m like, ‘How is that a point deduction without even a warning?’ So they’re telling me they’re going to deduct points straight off the bat. And if I do get disqualified for any reason, it was a $10million fine. Ten million f***ing dollars!
McGregor says he expected a little more respect:
They were making up all these f***ing stipulations like I wasn’t taking it seriously. Like I didn’t have a hall-of-fame referee at my camp present at every single spar. Do you know what I mean? I had a boxing referee in Ireland, a great boxing referee in Ireland and then Joe Cortez in Vegas, every single spar. I put in so much work and had given so much respect to the rule set and the discipline, I was kind of expecting it back.
Cortez, who has officiated over 170 world title bouts, comments on the sparring sessions between McGregor and Malignaggi.
August 26th is going to be a big fight here in Las Vegas and the whole world is going to be watching it. It will be one of the biggest pay-per-views in the history of any sport and I’m glad to be part of it in the sense that I’m teaching McGregor how to fight boxing instead of MMA. I’m teaching him the boxing rules, I’m not teaching him to fight, just teaching him the rules. I was hired to teach him the unified rules to make sure he doesn’t commit any fouls. I don’t want to see him disqualified or have any point deductions during the fight…He’s an excellent student, he’s learning real quick. Everything I’m teaching him, he’s learning. This is the biggest fight for him and these guys are making over 100 million dollars a piece. They better abide by the rules and listen to what I’m telling them because we want a good clean fight…McGregor is a puncher. McGregor is quick with his punches, he hits hard, so anything is possible.
Cortez, who is in McGregor’s camp to help ease the transition to boxing rules, by overseeing sparring sessions as he would real bouts, says he had to admonish McGregor and Malignaggi during a recent sparring session.
He was in there mixing it up a little bit with Paulie and it was the real thing I had to stop the action and I had to say, ‘Alright guys, you guys are getting a little out of control here, you gotta stop this.’ It got a little rough. They were both roughing each other up and I had to stop the action like as in a regular fight. They were holding too much, they were trying to punch each other. I mean, it got a little bit out of control where I had to call ‘Time!’ [I said] ‘Alright guys, you gotta stop this right now, I want a good clean round, give me sportsman-like conduct. Understand? I don’t want to take any points from either one of you. Understand?’ I looked at them and they said, ‘Okay, alright.’ And I said, ‘Time in.’
And when asked if there had been alot of trash talking:
I had to put a stop to that as well. That’s probably why I had to stop the action.
McGregor’s team has retained the services of retired Hall of Fame referee Joe Cortez. Cortez will work for six weeks with McGregor and his team, conducting eight and twelve round fight simulations – where Cortez reads the rules and initial warnings, basically recreating a scenario similar to a professional boxing match. Cortez has worked in 986 professional bouts, of which 176 were world title fights.
They (McGregor’s group) were looking for a referee with a broad knowledge of the rules…for me it’s an honor. I’m working with McGregor as a unified boxing advisor. My job is to teach him not to commit any mistakes during his fight against Mayweather Jr…This will be a fight between a boxer and a mixed martial arts specialist. As I said, my role will be to prepare McGregor so that he does not commit any breach of the rules on the day of the fight. It’s an opportunity to recreate fights and their rules. He is a fighter who is learning very fast and has previous experience in fights and is moving quite well. The only thing I can say is that it will be an interesting fight.