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Dana White: Khabib pulled plug on coaching 'TUF 29' vs. Conor McGregor after message leak

MMAJunkie logo MMAJunkie 9/30/2020 Nolan King
Conor McGregor et al. performing on stage in front of a crowd © Provided by MMAJunkie

Dana White says he had his coaches set for the revival of “The Ultimate Fighter” – until Khabib Nurmagomedov pulled the plug over leaked direct messages.

According to the UFC president, the promotion had pegged Nurmagomedov (28-0 MMA, 12-0 UFC) to coach Season 29 of the reality series opposite rival Conor McGregor. However, McGregor’s recent posting of screenshots of previously private text conversations with White led to Nurmagomedov (28-0 MMA, 12-0 UFC) turning down the coaching offer.

“He was going to do it until Conor did all of this (expletive),” White said in a recent interview with Barstool Sports. “I almost had it. That’s what I was saying: I felt like I was in a good place and I was going to get that done. We were going to do ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ on ESPN and (expletive) do the rematch. But you know, Conor blew that. … Yeah, Khabib said (expletive) him.”

Season 29 of “The Ultimate Fighter” is expected to get underway later this year. No further details have been released, though White has indicated the promotion is currently in the advanced planning stages. The series’ most recent season came in mid-2018.


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The two fighters squared off in October 2018 at UFC 229, where lightweight champion Nurmagomedov submitted McGregor (22-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) in the fourth round. The finish was quickly put on the back burner when Nurmagomedov jumped into the crowd and initiated a post-fight melee with McGregor’s corner.

Since that fight, McGregor just one MMA fight – a 40-second TKO win over Donald Cerrone in January. Meanwhile, Nurmagomedov has gone 1-0 with a win over Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 in September 2019.

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