Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar came out of retirement last week to sign a new contract with the world's largest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion (details), which puts him into a 265-pound showdown against veteran slugger Mark Hunt.
There was just one teeny, tiny hurdle to overcome along the way.
Since UFC is now governed by United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), any fighter who un-retires must provide four months notice before returning to the cage, in order to meet the stringent requirements for in- and out-of-competition drug testing.
Unless, of course, there are (cough) "exceptional circumstances" like this one, as laid out in the USADA rulebook.
From UFC (via Sherdog):
"On June 6, 2016, UFC heavyweight Brock Lesnar was registered by USADA into the UFC Anti-Doping Policy testing pool. As part of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, UFC may grant a former athlete an exemption to the four-month written notice rules in exceptional circumstances or where the strict application of that rule would be manifestly unfair to an athlete. Given Lesnar last competed in UFC on December 30, 2011, long before the UFC Anti-Doping Policy went into effect, for purposes of the Anti-Doping Policy, he is being treated similarly to a new athlete coming into the organization.
"While conversations with the heavyweight have been ongoing for some time, Lesnar required permission from WWE to compete in UFC 200 and only agreed to terms and signed a bout agreement last Friday. He was therefore unable to officially start the Anti-Doping Policy process any earlier. UFC, however, did notify Lesnar in the early stages of discussions that if he were to sign with the UFC, he would be subject to all of the anti-doping rules. Lesnar and his management have now been formally educated by USADA on the policy, procedures and expectations."
USADA has roughly one month to complete any and all drug testing (emphasis mine ^^^).
Lesnar (5-3) hasn't stepped foot inside the Octagon since suffering back-to-back technical knockout losses to Cain Velasquez (UFC 121) and Alistair Overeem (UFC 141), which promptly sent him back to the world of professional wrestling.
His "exceptional" fight against Hunt will take place in the UFC 200 co-main event next month in Las Vegas, Nevada.