Fans tuning into season 29 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) may think it’s just business as usual on the combat sports reality show, which airs every Tuesday night on ESPN+. Coaches bicker, fighters train, someone gets their ass beat and goes home.
Rinse and repeat.
But UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski claims TUF editors had to do most of the heavy lifting for the first couple of episodes, since 145-pound rival Brian Ortega was consistently late and in some cases, didn’t show up at all.
“He’s (expletive) late, let me tell you that, always late,” Volkanovski told Submission Radio. “Them four weeks that you saw in one episode, was all in one week. And it only took me one week to get annoyed with him. So, yeah. It’s tricky, cause obviously they gotta edit it, they gotta tell the stories and all that type of sort of stuff. But mate, they’re doing a good job of trying to not make him look that bad. I believe, anyway. Cause, yeah, I think in that first week he didn’t even turn up to a session, I was told. And then he was late every session. I was getting told this. And then he started up. I go, mate, you’re making your team wait, that’s a shit go. But then we’re all waiting on him, everyone sitting there. What are we waiting for? And then they didn’t want to tell me. Then I find out it was Brian. So, everyone was just waiting for Brian. And I’m like, hey mate, you’re gonna make your team wait, but don’t make us wait. If you’re gonna disrespect your team, don’t disrespect us.”
Volkanovski finally confronted Ortega on Episode 4 of TUF 29 (full recap here) and now “The Great” claims editors had to borrow footage from later in the season to backfill what was missing from week one when “T-City” was missing in action.
“Throughout the whole series and in that week, I was there for every weight cut, I was at the house, cooking them barbecues and what not,” Volkanovski continued. “Again, I’m giving too much information, they’re cropping in videos of Ortega with the boys from later in the weeks and bringing it in the first week to make him look good. It’s not their job to make him look like a piece of shit. He’s lucky the editing team are doing him a solid, because put it this way, I believe I was in it for the boys. But time will tell. Hopefully you get to see more of that through the show. When you need to start editing things to make someone look good, that just explains it for itself.”
Volkanovski defends his featherweight title against Ortega later this year.