Artem Lobov and Paulie Malignaggi’s rivalry escalated at yesterday’s BKFC’s media day event.
‘The Russian Hammer’ and ‘The Magic Man’ engaged in a heated confrontation where Malignaggi yelled threats at Lobov and then slapped him.
Although the two caused a ruckus, BKFC President, David Feldman said no punishments will be handed down.
Ultimately, Feldman is fine with the altercation as he can now use that to help promote their potential fight in the summer, barring Lobov beats Jason Knight on Saturday.
“As a promoter, you want that kind of stuff to sell a fight. I didn’t want it here today,” Feldman told MMA Junkie. “I wanted it after Saturday. But, it happened. … I just wanted to introduce Artem and his fight coming up and get everyone hyped about this fight. Artem (fighting) bare knuckle is big news, then us signing Paulie Malignaggi, that’s bigger news, and I wanted to maybe preview what maybe could happen in June. But I never thought that was going to happen. I’m very surprised that they went face to face like that.
“I didn’t want to take anything away from Artem and Jason Knight. I just wanted to bring Paulie into the loop. He’s going to sit. He’s going to commentate the fights on Saturday night, so I wanted to get his face a little more recognized with Bare Knuckle and wow, as a promotion, you can’t ask for anything better than that.”
The rivalry between Lobov and Malignaggi dates back to when the former boxer helped train with Conor McGregor for his fight with Floyd Mayweather.
In order for the grudge match to come to fruition, Lobov must first win on Saturday night. With that, Feldman knows the pressure is on ‘The Russian Hammer’ given Malignaggi has said he won’t fight Lobov if he loses on Saturday.
“I think he’s got a lot of pressure on him just in general from coming over from the UFC,” Feldman said. “A lot of people are making the mistake he was cut from the UFC. He wasn’t. He requested a release to fight for Bare Knuckle. Because of that, he wanted this to be his new sport, so he needs to shine Saturday night.”
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/3/2019