Former two division world champion Paulie Malignaggi has lashed out at the fan base of UFC veteran Artem Lobov.
The two fighters will collide on Saturday, in a bare knuckle fight, in the main event of BKFC 6 in Tampa, Florida.
There is a lot of tension with Malignaggi slapping Lobov at one media event, and a few weeks later the retired boxer spit in Lobov’s face at a press conference.
Their rivalry stems from Malignaggi’s beef with UFC superstar Conor McGregor, who is good friends with Lobov.
Malignaggi and McGregor had a huge fallout in 2017, after McGregor leaked footage of his sparring sessions with Malignaggi. The UFC star had used Malignaggi to prepare for his pay-per-view boxing match with Floyd Mayweather.
Two years of animosity has created a financial opportunity for Malignaggi to face Lobov in a bare knuckle fight on pay-per-view.
“I think of it like, thank god that this fan base in MMA is so f***ing stupid that they actually have made this possible,” Malignaggi told MMA Fighting.
“A fight this easy is possible in a main event situation. That’s how I look at it. I look at it in a thankful way. From that perspective I say yeah, I can’t believe I’m here. I’ve been in the ring with top fighters, main events inside stadiums and the biggest arenas in the world. I’ve been announced as a world champion. Believe me, it all goes through my mind. And now, I’m fighting this guy, who I don’t think has ever fought a guy who’s been a world champion, let alone fight for a title.
“So I catch myself and say I can only be thankful. There’s no way realistically possible to have a fight this easy against a bum of this level unless there is a fan base this stupid.”