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USADA officially welcomes Conor McGregor back into UFC’s drug testing pool

Conor McGregor has shared part of a letter from USADA welcoming him back to the program, paving the way for a UFC return in early 2024.

Mac is back in the pool ...

We’d heard from Conor McGregor that he had submitted the paperwork to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)/United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) liaison, Jeff Novitzky. We’d gotten confirmation from UFC CEO, Dana White, that things were rolling.

We’ve heard that all before, though.

But, now “The Notorious” has shared part of an e-mail from USADA, welcoming him back into the random drug-testing program (while it lasts).

“Dear Conor McGregor,” the excerpt read. “The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) would like to take a moment to welcome you back as a member of the UFC Registered Testing Pool (RTP).”

This is a massive step forward for McGregor in his quest to return to action in what he has promised will be the greatest comeback in sports history. For months, the mixed martial arts (MMA) community has waited for the Irish sports star to sort out his USADA situation. Mac even suggested UFC was set to give him an exemption to the six-month testing period so he could compete as soon as he re-entered.

But, even a superstar such as McGregor can’t fight without actually being in the program.

Now, he’s in, and the clock starts ticking. If he does have to wait for six months, he’ll be eligible to compete in mid-April. That’s right around when UFC 300 falls, and we couldn’t think of a better marquee fighter to anchor the historic event.

Neither can his potential opponent — and opposing coach on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 31 — Michael Chandler. While McGregor has wavered on his commitment to fight Chandler upon his return, he recently confirmed that “Iron” Mike was the opponent he wanted.

“Yes, it has to be,” McGregor said in a curbside interview at the end of September. “Has to be. Chandler, sit down and wait and shut your mouth, yeah? The Mac will be here soon.”

Will McGregor still be the same fighter he was before he suffered that brutal leg-break injury against Dustin Poirier in July 2021? Other greats like Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman failed to return to form following similar full-leg snaps, but they didn’t leave USADA’s program to get the best medical care science (and hundreds of millions of dollars) can provide.

All that money is a double-edged sword, though.

While McGregor clearly trained hard over the past two years, he also spent a lot of time partying it up and drinking a lot of whiskey and stout. He’s jumping right back into UFC shark tank against a top Lightweight opponent.

Will we see a return to form or will age, injuries and lifestyle leave McGregor a step behind the best?

For the latest TUF 31-related (and Conor McGregor) news and notes click here.

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