Former two-weight champion Conor McGregor is set to re-enter the USADA PED testing pool, marking a notable development in the world of mixed martial arts.
Under the guidance of now-UFC official Jeff Novitsky, USADA initiated an anti-d*ping protocol in collaboration with the UFC back in 2015. The objective was to elevate the integrity of the sport, addressing the rampant anti-d*ping violations that marred the previous decade.
Confirming McGregor’s return to the testing pool in an official press release on October 8, 2023, USADA asserted their unwavering stance on the matter. They emphasized that McGregor must undergo two negative tests and remain in the pool for a minimum of six months before being eligible to compete.
But a pivotal revelation emerged as well. The organization announced that as of January 1, 2024, USADA’s association with the UFC’s Anti-D*ping Program will conclude.
The official statement from USADA was: “We can confirm that Conor McGregor has re-entered the USADA testing pool as of Sunday, October 8. 2023. We have been clear and firm with the UFC that there should be no exception given by the UFC for McGregor to fight until he has returned two negative tests and been in the pool for at least six months. The rules also allow USADA to keep someone in the testing pool longer before competing based on their declarations upon entry in the pool and testing results.”
“Unfortunately, we do not currently know whether the UFC will ultimately honor the six-month or longer requirement because, as of January 1. 2024, USADA will no longer be involved with the UFC Ani-D*ping Program. Despite a positive and productive meeting about a contract renewal in May 2023, the UFC did an about-face and informed United States Anti-Doping Agency on Monday, October 9. that it was going in a different direction.”
“The relationship between United States Anti-Doping Agency and UFC became untenable given the statements made by UFC leaders and others questioning USADA’s principled stance that McGregor not be allowed to fight without being in the testing pool for at least six months.”
Additionally, USADA stated that despite these challenges, it remains resolute in its commitment to clean sport. The organization’s priority lies in safeguarding the health and safety of athletes, as well as maintaining a level playing field.
They added: “Fighters’ long-term health and safety — in addition to a fair and level field — are more important to USADA than short-term profits at the expense of clean athletes. USADA is proud of the work we’ve done over the past eight year to clean up the UFC, and we will continue to provide our unparalleled service to UFC athletes through the remainder of our current contract, which ends December 31. 2023. As always, we will continue to uphold the rights and voices of clean athletes in all sports.”