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Michael Chandler provides grim update on USADA drama, stalled Conor McGregor fight — ‘Maybe winter’

“Ultimately, all I gotta do is leave it up to how it’s supposed to happen,” Chandler told ESPN. “At this point, I’m believing we’re going to fight later on this fall, maybe winter at the latest, we’ll see what happens.”

Minnesota Twins v Chicago Cubs Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Michael Chandler has no answers.

At the same time, “Iron” is taking a hands-off approach to the booking of his Conor McGregor fight, which stalled in recent months after “Notorious” failed to meet the requirements set forth by United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

And Chandler won’t be getting any help from promotion president Dana White.

“Conor says one thing, USADA says another,” Chandler told ESPN. “Conor [likes to] publicly be in spats, whether it be Dana here and there, sponsors here and there, people who it doesn’t even make sense for him to be picking fights with, different weight classes, different organizations, all kinds of stuff. It’s all just a big show. I don’t know what the understanding is. I could see it very well being just two clean tests. I have no problem with it being two clean tests. I could care less. If you do two clean tests, sounds to me like you’re clean. At this point, who am I to say what the stipulations are? I’m ready for him to be cleared or at least get that answer. At this point, we don’t have an answer.”

Neither does UFC.

McGregor, 34, has not competed since breaking his leg against Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 back in summer 2021. “Notorious” was intrigued by the idea of “full immersion” for his combat sports comeback and eventually signed on to coach The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 31, which is expected to get the Chandler rivalry off and running when it premieres on May 30 on ESPN.

That said, the season will end long before McGregor makes his UFC comeback, which is now being targeted for “later on this fall or winter at the latest.” The power-punching Irishman will need six months of clean drug testing before USADA can rubber stamp his return, unless “Notorious” somehow scores a special exemption.

Chandler believes McGregor is too attached to the rush of competition to stay retired.

“I think Conor, to his core, really is romantic about combat sports, he loves it,” Chandler said. “And I think he’s got an ego the size of Texas. He needs to get back in there and continue to feel that rush, feel the crowd, acting like he’s a god for those 15 minutes, 25 minutes, whatever it may be. So, I think he’s coming back. It sure would be a huge stain on his legacy, leading everybody down a road, making people think that he’s coming back, and then kind of chickening out at the very end and only doing it for the publicity. That, to me, screams insecurity and trying to stay relevant rather than seeing through your commitment.”

We’ll find out later the year ... hopefully.

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