Conor McGregor already has everyone talking about The Ultimate Fighter 31 before the season has even started.
On Friday, manager Daniel Rubenstein took to Twitter to address a list of fighters that are rumored to be competing on the upcoming season of TUF (the actual cast list is yet to be released), putting forth the allegation that McGregor used his influence to have three fighters removed from the cast list in favor of McGregor associates. McGregor is set to serve as a coach on the season opposite lightweight contender Michael Chandler.
Ken Cross, Mitch Ramirez and Brandon Jenkins all got pulled off to make room for 3 of Conor’s guy to be on the show.— Daniel Rubenstein (@dannyrube) February 17, 2023
“Ken Cross, Mitch Ramirez and Brandon Jenkins all got pulled off to make room for 3 of Conor’s [guys] to be on the show,” Rubenstein wrote.
UFC fighters Gilbert Burns and Chris Curtis also addressed the allegations on Twitter, with Burns claiming that former PFL competitor Loik Radzhabov was one of the fighters bumped out to accommodate McGregor, and Curtis calling the rumor “definitely true.” That prompted McGregor to respond to Curtis directly in a tweet that has since been deleted:
@Actionman513 not true. I only know 1 guy on this show and he put himself forward for it. And he is now, after today, set to fight the No. 1 seed! I didn’t ask nor request nothing! And I certainly didn’t have people removed. I’m just tryna get back in the mix myself so f*ck off.
This is the second time that McGregor has served as a coach on TUF, with his first stint taking place in 2015 when he coached opposite Urijah Faber. On that season, McGregor notably featured then-close friend Artem Lobov as a member of his team.
Following the conclusion of the upcoming TUF season, McGregor will compete for the first time since breaking his leg at UFC 264 in July 2021 when he fights Chandler, with a date and location still to be determined.