Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor became involved in a backstage brawl at Tuesday's Grand Arrival ceremony ahead of their fight this weekend, before Paulie Malignaggi then confronted the Irishman on an explosive afternoon in Las Vegas.
The Arrivals ceremony, held on the Toshiba Plaza outside the T-Mobile Arena, had been a relatively restrained affair until the brawl involving both Mayweather and McGregor’s entourages.
Badou Jack and Nathan Cleverly had both been introduced to the crowd, before Mayweather appeared on stage and was briefly interviewed.
He thanked his fans “across the world”, before again repeating that the fight was unlikely to go the distance. “I told you before that this isn’t going to go the distance,” he said. “So if you’re going to bet, bet that it won’t go.”
The trouble came when Mayweather and his huge entourage exited the stage, and passed McGregor’s camp, who were accompanying the Irishman to his interview.
Both entourages walked slowly towards one another, before there was a large melee, with several photographers and journalists finding themselves caught up in the fracas.
Mayweather and McGregor were in the immediate middle of the pile-up, although it did not take long for both men to be separated by members of their entourage.
Mayweather made a quick exit, while McGregor took a brief moment to readjust his suit and pocket square before making his way not the stage for a quick interview.
McGregor claimed he would knock out Mayweather in the very first round of their fight on Saturday to large cheers from the crowd, before he was then confronted by his former sparring partner Malignaggi upon leaving the stage.
The American boxer was part of McGregor’s training camp but quit suddenly when Dana White, the president of the UFC, released sparring footage which showed the Irishman knocking Malignaggi to the ground.
“Did you bring your balls this time?” Malignaggi repeatedly said to McGregor as he left the stage, with McGregor replying: “You got your a** whopped”.
The pair squared up, before McGregor’s entourage again pulled their man away. As he left, the Irishman then appeared to become involved in a further altercation with a Mayweather fan, who hurled a series of insults at the two-weight UFC champion before being dragged away by security.
Mayweather and McGregor will come face-to-face two more times before Saturday’s fight — at Wednesday’s final press conference and then again at the Friday night weigh-in.