What Conor McGregor wants, Conor McGregor usually gets.
That seems to be the complaints lodged against the former two-division UFC champion after he allegedly demanded that some athletes of his own choosing got a spot on the cast of The Ultimate Fighter 31, which in turn cost some other prospects a chance to compete on the reality show.
UFC welterweight Gilbert Burns claimed his teammate Loik Radzhabov was sent home after “freaking Conor bring his own guys and they kick him out!” Prominent MMA manager Daniel Rubenstein said the same while stating on social media that three fighters — Ken Cross, Mitch Ramirez and Brandon Jenkins — were also removed in favor of McGregor’s selections.
This guy is my teammate!— GILBERT BURNS DURINHO (@GilbertDurinho) February 18, 2023
Loik Radzhabov 2x PFL finalist 155! Work so hard and was ready to finally get his shot in the UFC on TUF was in Vegas everything good to go! This freaking Conor bring his own guys and they kick him out! ♂️ ♂️ Not Fear! pic.twitter.com/qQ0JXspn75
On Saturday, UFC President Dana White responded to the allegations, though he didn’t really know any details about fighters being kicked off the show to make room for McGregor’s picks.
“I have no idea,” White said. “Who gives a s***.”
In a deleted tweet, McGregor also denied any wrongdoing, saying he only knew one fighter on the show and added, “I didn’t ask nor request nothing, and I certainly didn’t have people removed.”
Even if the final lineup for The Ultimate Fighter season 31 was shuffled to make room for McGregor or the fighters he personally selected, White said it’s really much ado about nothing.
White promises anybody who got bumped off the show will still end up with an opportunity, but it just may not be on the reality show where McGregor is coaching against fellow UFC lightweight contender Michael Chandler.
“You’re trying to get guys to commit to coach and to do the coaching commitment, especially when you live in Ireland, you know what I mean? Yeah, Conor’s going to get some things that he wants,” White explained.
“Nobody lost an opportunity here. If there were guys that were booked to do that, we’ll do something with them. It’s not just like, hey, see you later, pal, good luck to you. You know? Have a good life, we’ll figure it out, We’ll take care of these guys.”
Because the UFC roster is constantly influx, the promotion will often times bring back athletes who competed on TUF or Dana White’s Contender Series and didn’t immediately earn a contract at the time.
White obviously didn’t have any details related to fighters who may not end up participating on TUF 31, but he’s confident nobody will miss out on a chance to work with the UFC simply because the organization potentially made some concession for McGregor.
Filming for TUF 31 just began a matter of days ago with White revealing that several fights have already taken place head of the May debut of the reality series.
“It’s been good,” White said. “We had our first three fights, I think on Friday and actually [I was] just upstairs with Chandler and he’s telling me how much he loves this show and how into helping his guys. He’s like, you know, I figured I was going to come out here and you know, we go through the motions and whatever he says, I’m blown away by how into this I am and how much I really care about these guys. And I said, this is what happens every season.
“It’s fascinating, you know, every year that we do this. First of all different things happen every season and the fact that that these coaches become so invested in their guys. It’s fun man. It’s good to be back.”