Conor McGregor given drug-test reassurance ahead of UFC return

Conor McGregor has not fought since July 2021, when he suffered a broken leg (Getty Images)

Conor McGregor’s UFC return could come courtesy of a loophole in drug-test rules, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) has said.

In January, the UFC announced that McGregor will make his comeback later this year, as the former champion takes on Michael Chandler.

No date, location or weight class has been confirmed for the fight though, with McGregor yet to re-enter Usada’s testing pool.

In order to compete in the UFC, fighters must have been present in the Usada pool for six months and have submitted two negative tests – and zero positives.

However, Usada issued a statement on Thursday (16 March), responding to comments made by McGregor on Wednesday and declaring that the UFC “can make an exception” in “exceptional circumstances”.

Usada said that such an exemption may be made in instances that are “manifestly unfair” to athletes, but the agency insisted: “Our position, which we have made clear, is that Conor should be in the testing pool for the full six-month period.”

McGregor, who has not fought since suffering a broken leg in a loss to Dustin Poirier in July 2021, said on The MMA Hour on Wednesday: “The six months thing… What they had said was ‘two clean tests’ and off I go.”

It is unclear whether the ‘they’ to whom McGregor was referring was the UFC or Usada, but the latter’s statement read: “We do not currently have a meeting set with Conor and, as of today, we have not received notice of his coming out of retirement to compete.”