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In rare move, UFC waives six-month USADA drug test rule, paving way for Miesha Tate’s July return

UFC Fighter Portraits Photo by Esther Lin/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has waived a six-month United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) drug testing rule for the return of former women’s Bantamweight queenpin, Miesha Tate, who will fight Marion Reneau at UFC Vegas 31 on July 17, 2021.

Tate retired from mixed martial arts (MMA) in 2016 (details here).

UFC’s anti-doping policy states that any fighter who voluntarily leaves the drug-testing pool must be re-tested for six months before returning to competition. However, UFC can waive this rule in “Exceptional Circumstances” or where the strict application of that rule would be manifestly “unfair” to the fighter.

See Hunt, Mark.

In Tate’s case, UFC cited her retirement to start a family and her work as Vice President of ONE Championship in Singapore as reasons for waiving the rule, according to an ESPN report. UFC also said that Tate was drug-tested 12 times in 2016 with no issue.

This is not the first time UFC has waived the six-month drug testing rule. In 2016, UFC infamously granted an exemption to Brock Lesnar, who returned to the the promotion after a four-year absence. Lesnar’s exemption was controversial, as he had tested positive for clomiphene and anastrozole — two banned substances — in 2014.

UFC’s decision to waive the six-month drug testing rule for Tate has been met with mixed reactions online. Some fans have praised UFC for allowing “Cupcake” to return to the Octagon sooner, while others have criticized the decision, arguing that it sets a dangerous precedent.

Only time will tell whether Tate’s return will be successful. However, one thing is for sure: UFC’s decision to waive the six-month drug testing rule has sparked a debate about the future of anti-doping in MMA.

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