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Stephen Espinoza Has Some Harsh Words For The UFC’s Integrity Following Khabib/Iaquinta Booking

The SHOWTIME executive vice-president went to town on the UFC’s integrity following their decision to book a fighter who failed to make weight for a lightweight title-shot.

He never once would have been considered a factor in the sport of mixed martial arts prior to last August’s super-fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor, but in the build-up to that now infamous clash of worlds, SHOWTIME’s Stephen Espinoza managed to bring a whole new level of attention to himself.

As the executive vice-president of the SHOWTIME network, Espinoza was front and centre for a large portion of the Money Fight’s buildup and in one memorable moment, was attacked verbally by the Irishman McGregor for what he perceived to be a shady move on the part of the VP. Conor was given limited information about the format of the promotional tour prior to their first stop in Toronto and when at times he appeared to move onto subjects that could have been considered ‘touchy’ his mic’s volume was cut.

All in all, the fans, – especially the Irish – did not take kindly to Espinoza’s conduct and since then he has garnered himself something of a bad reputation within MMA circles.

This weekend’s UFC 223, a show that could not have had a crazier buildup, has seemingly found its headlining matchup at long last as Al Iaquinta answered the call to take on Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Things did seem to be up in the air on that front for some time, however, as Iaquinta – who was originally booked for a non-title three-rounder with Paul Felder – came in at 155.2lbs, a weight that would be fine for his original matchup, but 0.2lbs over the championship limit.

Moves were made backstage and after reportedly weighing Al’s underwear (which thankfully weighed 0.2lbs) the fight was set and UFC 223’s main-event was saved.

Now, Espinoza, whose SHOWTIME network have often found themselves directly competing with the UFC’s broadcasting, took aim at the decision to grant Iaquinta a title shot via his official Twitter page.

Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena

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Author: Cillian Cunningham

Lead mixed martial arts writer who can be contacted at [email protected]