While season 31 of The Ultimate Fighter — starring Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler as coaches — may have premiered this week, the doesn’t mean we’re any close to knowing a date or event for the former two-division UFC champion’s return.
McGregor, who hasn’t competed since suffering a broken leg in his July 2021 trilogy fight against Dustin Poirier, had his long-awaited comeback announced earlier this year. Following the conclusion of TUF 31, he’s expected to share the cage with Chandler.
But with constant delays to the planned showdown and McGregor’s return to the USADA testing pool, not to mention some of the Irishman’s recent public appearances, heavy uncertainty now clouds over the “Notorious” star’s status.
With that in mind, one notable figure in mixed martial arts has called for him to “figure out” what it is he really wants.
McCarthy Seeks Clarification On McGregor’s Plans
During a recent episode of the Weighing In podcast, former MMA referee-turned-Bellator color commentator John McCarthy gave his take on the confusion regarding McGregor’s return.
Having seen the Irishman’s evident bulk-up and apparent continuing habit of partying, McCarthy believes that McGregor’s actions are in direct contrast to his consistent vows to compete at the highest level once again.
“I’m gonna get yelled at for this one, but Conor has got to figure out what he wants to do,” McCarthy said. “Conor hasn’t fought now in several years, the whole injury with the leg thing…He’s doing things at times, you look and you go, ‘I know that you want to be back where you were at. I know you do. But life has changed.’ Having kids and all the businesses, and everything as far as your focus is not what it once was, and that’s what made you who you are.
“You’ve gotta figure out what’s important to you. Obviously he put on a lot of weight… he got muscular. But that’s not good for fighting! To sit there and say, ‘I’ll be more powerful,’ bullsh*t,” McCarthy continued. “You’re gonna have to lose most of what you put on… He’s got to figure out what is it he really wants… If Conor wants to get back to being that fighter he was, it’s not gonna be an easy thing for him to do because he’s a different person… You see him partying and stuff… What you’re doing there is contrary to what you say you wanna be.”
Currently, McGregor’s fans are enjoying the former ‘champ-champ’ being back on their screens for TUF 31. But with the Dublin native still yet to reappear in the USADA testing pool, which he must be in for six months before a return, concern appears to be building.
Coach Conor leading by example 👏@TheNotoriousMMA | #TUF31 is LIVE on @ESPN pic.twitter.com/JS18b8mgZ6
— The Ultimate Fighter (@UltimateFighter) May 31, 2023
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