TUF 31 Episode 1 recap: Conor McGregor skipped out on filming, first KO & ‘At any moment this thing could explode’

Conor McGregor stars in TUF 31
Conor McGregor stars in TUF 31 / ESPN

A full recap of the first episode of The Ultimate Fighter season 31 starring Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler.

The 31st season of The Ultimate Fighter returned on Tuesday night with a brand new season hosted by former double UFC champion Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler.

The pair are coaching prospects versus veterans with a crop of new fighters looking for a chance to earn their way into the UFC while the veterans are looking for a way back.

The season begins with the two coaches meeting for the first time and already setting the stage for the tension that's been teased for weeks. From there they pick teams and after McGregor wins the coin toss he ends up with all of the prospects and Chandler with all of the veterans.

Chandler tells the camera that "at any moment this thing could explode" and we think that's definitely an omen for things to come.

The coaches then do a training day with their fighters in order to evaluate and rank them from 1-4. Those numbers determine who is matched with who later in the show.

Right away we see that McGregor is taking a more brutal approach by having his fighters do hard sparring on day 1. The fighters discuss Chandler and McGregor's teaching styles back at the TUF house.

Conor McGregor wins first coin toss, picks prospects

The next day, all the match-ups are made. Following a coin toss that Chandler won, the selections begin. At the end, we're left with the following fights for the quarterfinals.

  • Nate Jennerman (2) vs. Roosevelt Roberts (3)
  • Trevor Wells (2) vs. Timur Valiev (3)
  • Aaron McKenzie (3) vs. Austin Hubbard (2)
  • Mando Gutierrez (1) vs. Cody Gibson (4)
  • Carlos Vera (3) vs. Brad Katona (2)
  • Lee Hammond (1) vs. Kurt Holobaugh (4)
  • Landon Quinones (4) vs. Jason Knight (1)
  • Rico DiSciullo (4) vs. Hunter Azure (1)

The first fight will happen in episode one and we begin to hear the stories of Nate Jennerman and Roosevelt Roberts.

Jennerman discusses taking two years off due to injury, starting his own gym and training at Roufusport in Milwaukee. Roberts details his back-to-back losses that led to his UFC release, how he was just fighting for money before and didn't take his career seriously and how much his children mean to him.

Conor McGregor skips weigh-ins

It's now weigh-in time and McGregor is nowhere to be seen. Only a brief mention is made of his absence but it might be a bad sign for a long season ahead. Both fighters make weight.

Roosevelt Roberts - 156 pounds
Nate Jennerman - 155.5 pounds

Roosevelt Roberts KOs Nate Jennerman in just seconds

Now it's fight day and McGregor is there.

The fight is short and sweet as Roberts lands a flurry of punches dropping Jennerman for a first-round stoppage. Jennerman briefly protests to the referee, but it's over. Roberts jumps on the cage and tells Dana White that he messed up his last contract but will be back.

They don't announce the time of the stoppage but White calls it the "fastest KO in TUF history."

In the back McGregor tells Jennerman that he's still right there with him and says they'll get back to the gym and keep working.

There's a teaser for the rest of the season to end the episode where it appears as though Chandler may have gotten injured in training.

Next week we'll see Trevor Wells vs. Timur Valiev.

Next. When is Conor McGregor's next fight?. dark

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