A new season of The Ultimate Fighter will begin tonight, with Conor McGregor leading a team of European MMA fighters against a team of US fighters led by Urijah Faber.
You may, like many fans, have mixed feelings about this.
Sure, TUF will always be remembered as the show which kicked the UFC into the mainstream. But many feel it’s gotten to be kind of a tired formula over the subsequent twenty or so seasons, as we’ve discussed here at Caged Insider. (Note that article is two years old!)
Still, this edition will feature two coaches who have connected with audiences: one of the UFC’s biggest stars in interim featherweight champion McGregor, and his opposition, Faber, has ranked among the sport’s biggest attractions among the lighter weight classes for several years.
The cast includes some interesting names, including one of the US’ most decorated jiu-jitsu competitors, Ryan Hall.
But an interview from McGregor, released earlier this week by the UFC, raises some questions. It seems he won’t be involved in his team’s training much, and doesn’t have much belief in the TUF “experience” at all.
“I brought them in the other day and I told them, forget Team Europe,” McGregor said. “Forget Team USA. It’s fake, and it’s fabricated. It’s all fabricated bulls–t in this business. I told them to remember their team back home. Remember their families. Remember why they’re here. They are here for their people back home, their families and their financial security. All the rest of it is absolutely nothing. I explained that to them.”
McGregor says he’s there to bring attention to the fighters — “provide a platform” as he puts it — and not train the fighters.
“It’s a six weeks of fights on and off,” he continued. “The training is done; I’m not going to teach them anything.”
In fact, he won’t even be in attendance for many of his team’s training sessions.
“I’m not going to be at every training session, if I’m even going to be at any training session,” McGregor said. “I’m just going to be there picking the fights and doing that obligation, and I’ll be at the fights. But I have my team of coaches that will be preparing them and I trust that they will give them the right training.”
Here’s the full interview: