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Conor McGregor denies hand-picking own TUF fighters: ‘I certainly didn’t have people removed’

Filming for next season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) just got underway and Conor McGregor is already being ridiculed for reportedly hand-picking his own fighters to be on the show.

As filming gets underway for TUF 31, McGregor and fellow lightweight, Michael Chandler, have traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada, to start coaching their respective teams. It’s been more than seven years since “Notorious” last stepped foot on TUF set and nearly three years since he last competed inside of the Octagon. Needless to say, this is a big opportunity for McGregor to return to the mixed martial arts (MMA) limelight and re-submerge himself into the sport.

Unfortunately, reports are already beginning to swirl that McGregor had three contestants removed from the newest installment of TUF in favor of his own fighters. It’s reminiscent of the way Artem Lobov was treated by McGregor during his last coaching stint on the show. The recent reports have already left a bad taste in the mouths of fight fans.

Luckily, they may not be true. After UFC middleweight Chris Curtis re-posted the report of McGregor hand-picking TUF fighters the Irish superstar responded to deny the allegations. According to McGregor, he only has one fighter from his inner circle competing on the show and he’s already matched up against the No. 1 pick.

“@Actionman513 not true,” wrote McGregor in a since deleted tweet. “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—k off.”

McGregor, who remains the biggest star in combat sports despite another lengthy layoff, may or may not be telling the truth. The promotion has allowed the former UFC double champ to call his shots in the past and hand-picking contestants for the next season of TUF may have been a stipulation for McGregor to come back and coach the show. We’ll never truly know.

What we do know is the filming of TUF is officially underway and McGregor will make his long-awaited return to the Octagon later this year in an exciting matchup with Chandler.

What do you think — is McGregor telling the truth?

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