Don’t expect to see Conor McGregor back in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Octagon any time soon.
After months of speculation over “The Notorious” and his status within the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) drug testing pool, UFC President, Dana White, confirmed that McGregor has withdrawn from the program.
Last month, TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter did a deep dive into USADA’s public database and discovered that McGregor was the only fighter on UFC’s roster who hadn’t been tested in 2022. Reporter Farah Hannoun questioned White about the situation at UFC 280’s post-fight press conference.
“Speaking of USADA, it appears on the database that Conor McGregor hasn’t been tested this year,” she said. “Would he have to complete six months before he could compete?”
“Yeah,” White replied.
“So, he can’t return until six months?” she followed up.
“Right,” White said.
In hindsight, it seems almost obvious that McGregor would be removed from the USADA program while doctors treat his injured leg, which was severely broken in a tricky spot by the ankle. A lot of treatments and rehabilitative programs would involve substances considered by USADA to be performance-enhancing in a competition setting.
Since McGregor isn’t competing, and needed top medical care to ensure his fight career could continue, it makes sense that he be allowed to step out of the program while going through rehab. So long as he spends the six months being tested by USADA before competing again, he’s playing within the rules.
That’s not to say there isn’t something rather shifty regarding McGregor’s sudden size explosion. Mac hasn’t been shy about posting pictures of the muscle mass he’s been accumulating during his time off, or his desire to move up to Welterweight. It’s very possible he got a hall pass on account of his leg and is now taking every substance known to science in preparation for his “historic comeback.”
While McGregor is still determined to come back and win a third title at 170 pounds, he took some time following UFC 280 to call out Islam Makhachev following the Dagestani’s win over Charles Oliveira for the Lightweight title.
“Nice fight, nice performance,” McGregor wrote in a since-deleted tweet. “I have the tools to beat this style now vs. before. Experience vs s***. Face breaking shots from clinch and baby brain batter shots from bottom. And the rest of my repertoire yous know. Steel left leg. Cannon back hand. Wrist control.”
If McGregor really wants to challenge Islam Makhachev, it’ll have to be after May 2023 at the earliest. Until “The Notorious” enters the six month USADA testing period, his weekly talk of wiping out the champions in multiple divisions won’t carry as much weight as it did.