There’s still no date for the highly anticipated Conor McGregor vs. Michael Chandler fight, but the two are clearly ready to scrap (if they haven’t already). New photos shared by McGregor on social media show the two facing off on the set of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 31 as UFC President, Dana White, watches intently in the background.
McGregor and Chandler have been busy coaching ESPN’s mixed martial arts (MMA) “reality” show over the past several weeks. That shoot ended last Monday, freeing “The Notorious” up to travel across the United States on a promotional tour for his various projects: a new Netflix series, Road House remake, and his return to fighting after more than 1.5 years away from the sport.
He hasn’t forgotten about Chandler, though.
Two pictures he shared from UFC’s Apex facility showed the two contenders staring intently at each other, while another two showed them laughing. Behind the smiles there was still an intensity, though. According to White, the two may have gotten physical with each other while filming TUF 31 after McGregor jumped into the cage following a fight, prompting a brawl.
March 19, 2023
TUF 31 will debut on May 30, 2023, and run until Aug. 15, 2023.
Preliminary reports had McGregor and Chandler fighting in September, and there hasn’t been any news to counter that schedule — other than McGregor’s continued absence from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) drug testing pool.
According to USADA regulations, fighters must spend six months being tested before being allowed to compete barring a rare exemption being granted by UFC. McGregor hasn’t been tested since breaking his leg during a fight with Dustin Poirier back in July 2021 (see it). September is six months from March, so every day that goes by this month is another day in September that McGregor is ineligible to fight.
USADA has made it clear that it believes McGregor doesn’t quality for an exemption to the six-month rules. White has dodged the question when asked by the press, saying he has nothing to do with USADA. That job falls to Jeff Novitzky, UFC’s Senior Vice President of Athlete Health & Performance. Ask him, White suggested at UFC 286’s post-fight press conference (watch it).
Thus far, Novitzky has been unavailable for comment.
For more TUF 31-related news and notes on the upcoming season click here.