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Conor McGregor is hoping a USADA loophole allows him to book a fight in February 2023

McGregor says he’s just two drug tests away from being able to book a fight in February 2023. Here’s what USADA’s rules say about that.

Celebrity Sightings: Day 9 - The 75th Annual Cannes Film Festival Photo by Edward Berthelot/GC Images

Conor McGregor went on a proper Twitter bender late Wednesday night, calling out Khabib Nurmagomedov, his cousins, Joe Rogan, doubters, and the world in general.

His latest rant at Khabib seemed inspired by a recent interview where the Dagestani stole McGregor’s “We’re not here to take part, we’re here to take over” catchphrase. “The Notorious” immediately went low, repeatedly referencing Khabib’s father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, who died in July 2020 due to complications from COVID.

He also admitted he was no longer in the USADA testing pool, something other fighters and reporters had suspected for months. Normally that would mean a six month wait following re-entry, but McGregor claimed he’ll be good to go in February 2023 following two clean drug tests.

“I am clear for testing in February,” he wrote on Twitter. “I will complete my two tests per USADA and we are booking a fight.”

So what’s the deal with that? Well, it turns out that USADA has a loophole in that six month testing rule that McGregor hopes to exploit. TSN reporter Aaron Bronsteter reached out to the drug testing program, and while they wouldn’t comment on any specific case, they did give him a general statement.

“Once UFC athletes are enrolled in the testing program, they are subject to testing,” it read. “Even when not competing unless they notify the UFC of their retirement, their contract is terminated, or they are otherwise removed from the program. In the event of an athlete’s return to the UFC, they are required to remain in the USADA testing pool for six months before they are permitted to compete.”

“Similar to World Anti-Doping Agency rules, the UFC may grant an exemption to the six-month written notice rule in exceptional circumstances or where the strict application of that rule would be manifestly unfair to the athlete, but in both cases under the UFC rules, the athlete must provide at least two negative samples before returning to competition.”

Clearly, McGregor believes he qualifies for this ‘exceptional circumstances’ clause. And we suppose he kind of does: he was forced to remove himself from the pool following a horrific injury. Doctors were always going to use all the means to ensure his leg healed as well as possible, and you better believe they used a bunch of stuff on the USADA banned list. It would be pretty ‘unfair to the athlete’ to sit them out an extra six months after an injury has kept them out of action for over a year and a half, wouldn’t it?

On the other hand, granting McGregor an exemption now after he ballooned up an entire weight class is going to raise a lot of eyebrows, and rightfully so. “The Notorious” used his time outside of the program productively, and is now a Mack truck of muscle.

Will USADA call him out on it, or does the former double-champ do what he wants? We now see McGregor’s plan for an early 2023 comeback, and it wouldn’t be surprising if it happens just as he says it will.

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