Back in February, UFC superstar Conor McGregor was accused of bumping off other contestants of The Ultimate Fighter show to accommodate his teammates. “The Notorious” is coaching TUF 31 against Michael Chandler, affirming the special treatment he is getting from the top brass.
Now, one of the supposed names from the ousted list is speaking out, recalling how stunned he was upon hearing that he was taken off the show because of the UFC’s top star.
Conor McGregor demanded his ‘prospects’ to be included
30-year-old welterweight competitor Mitch Ramirez was one of the three names that were supposedly taken off the TUF 31 list. He recently spoke to Fight Fluency to recount that exact moment he found out.
“One of the producers came in and he just… he looked upset. I believed him. His body language, what he was telling me sounded like the truth. What he told me is that ‘Conor landed today and he brought two of his guys with him. He’s demanding they’re on the show. He’s got the prospects.
“‘Unfortunately, you have the least amount of fights on your record, so you’re being replaced.’”
“To me, that was such a blow. Such a nut shot, honestly. I remember sitting there being stunned and being, like, ‘Is there anything we can do? What the f—k?’ And they’re like, ‘We’re sorry, dude, it is what it is. It’s Conor.’”
Ramirez, who is the boyfriend of former UFC flyweight Cynthia Calvillo, also said he understood the situation that involved Conor McGregor. But at the same time, it was difficult for him to not take things personally, and understandably so.
“I get it. I understand who Conor McGregor is. I understand the way business works. I’m smart enough to understand that it wasn’t personal, but it is personal ‘cause it’s my life. And it’s everything I’ve put myself into for my whole life, honestly.”
Conor McGregor is ‘f–ng special’
Over the years, the UFC hasn’t been shy about their preferential treatment towards their most prized athlete. Here’s what UFC president Dana White told Daniel Cormier in a 2021 interview.
“Conor McGregor has been that guy since the day that he walked into this fuckin’ company. So for anybody to point the finger and say, ‘Oh, this guy’s getting special treatment…’ (Because) This guy’s special. This guy’s f–n’ special.’
White doubled down on it when asked about the aforementioned accusations about TUF 31.
“I have no idea. Who gives a shit?” he said during a media scrum. “These stories that come out of these things… heard something earlier tonight, too. We’re working on all this stuff, and you’re trying to get guys to commit to coach… to do the coaching commitment.
“Especially if you live in Ireland, yeah, Conor’s gonna get some things that he wants.”
Conor McGregor denies TUF 31 accusations
When the accusations first surfaced, Conor McGregor immediately shut them down in a since-deleted tweet, saying he only knew “one guy” in the contestant pool who “put himself forward for it.”
He once again denied them in a recent conversation with Ariel Helwani for Matchroom Boxing, but this time, he admitted to have ‘campaigned’ for one of his teammates to get into the house.
“I brought no one,” McGregor asserted. “I brought absolutely no one. I did not request no one. One of the teammates that I had already campaigned went through the motions. But he’s an amateur world champion, he’s undefeated. 5 or 6-0 as a pro, also.
“Look at what’s happening with me all the time? I got people and with Artem and all the rest. I’m doing me. I’m focusing on my family…
“I did not get anyone into the Ultimate Fighter house, and I did not get anyone kicked out of the Ultimate Fighter house. It’s the usual rumors that just grow legs and run. That’s clarification on that one.”
TUF 31 will begin airing on ESPN+ on May 31st.
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