WEDNESDAY NEWS DIGEST 8/16: Couture discusses McGregor, possible Interim Lightweight Championship bout, NSAC decides on referee, glove size, and judges 

By John Kim, MMATorch contributor

Randy Couture (photo credit Mark J. Rebilas © USA Today)

Randy Couture discusses Conor McGregor

UFC legend Randy Couture thinks Conor McGregor’s sparring sessions are unusual and thinks McGregor’s chances of beating Floyd Mayweather are slim.  In a recent interview with The Herd,  Couture was asked about the recent sparring session between McGregor and Paulie Malignaggi.  Couture questioned the legitimacy of the sessions. “This reeks of a publicity stunt to me,” he said. “Normally, you don’t have an official referee there, presiding over a sparring match.”

Couture also commented on the decision to make the sparring session 12 rounds: “Normally, you’d have two or three other partners there that would rotate in on rounds and give each other breaks because it’s tough being that guy. You know when you’re there you’re there to contribute, to help this guy find solutions to the problems his opponent is gonna bring.”

Couture mentioned that McGregor does have some advantages over Mayweather.  “He’s unorthodox, he’s a southpaw, he’s not gonna throw things that Floyd’s used to seeing, he’s younger, and he’s a little bigger,” he said. “Those are all positives for Conor.”

Despite those advantages, Couture still thinks McGregor chances are not very good.  “I give Conor a one in ten chance of winning this fight,” Couture said. “At the end of the day, he’s still competing in a pure boxing match against one of the pound-for-pound best technical, best defensive fighters that we’ve seen in a long, long time.”

John’s Analysis: I disagree with the UFC Hall of Famer about this being a publicity stunt. While the McGregor-Malignaggi sparring session was atypical, I would not say it was a publicity stunt.  McGregor is known for his unorthodox training methods and isn’t afraid to try new things.  For example, Conor was one of the first MMA athletes to employ a movement coach.  So, it doesn’t surprise me that McGregor would try to simulate and actual fight during a sparring session. 

Interim Lightweight Championship bout targeted for UFC 216

Dana white told reporters that Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee will fight at UFC 216 for the Interim Lightweight Championship.  The fight will take place on October 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Ferguson is on a nine-fight win streak and considered one of the best lightweights in the division.  Lee is coming off an impressive win against Michael Chiesa at UFC Fight Night 112.


-The Nevada State Athletic Commission announced that Rpbert Byrd will be the referee for Mayweather vs. McGregor.  The NSAC also selected Burt Clements, Dave Moretti, and Guido Cavalleri as the official judges.

-The NSAC also approved the use of 8 oz. gloves for the Mayweather-McGregor boxing match.

NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: TUESDAY NEWS DIGEST 8/15: Georges St-Pierre talks about his future in MMA, White says McGregor gave Malignaggi a beating, Frank Mir update

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