Conor McGregor continues to claim he’ll return to action at UFC 296 on Dec. 16, 2023. But, if Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) wants that to happen, it needs to grant him a special exemption that lets him skip a six-month United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) testing period.
It’s a very possible scenario ... one that Dustin Poirier is not happy about.
“Diamond” opened up on the idea of McGregor fighting without extensive drug testing in a new interview with MMA News.
“I like USADA, and I do think they’re doing a good job of cleaning up our sport,” Poirier said. “But, for me, if they waive [the six-month window] and allow him to compete with no drug testing, it kind of just makes a joke of the whole thing. Just remove it completely, you know?
“There shouldn’t be gray areas,” he continued. “It’s white and black with USADA. You take tests and pass them, you’re able to compete. You don’t take tests, you won’t be able to compete. There was never a gray area before.”
UFC has always had the ability to waive the six-month testing period for returning fighters in “Exceptional Circumstances.” In fact, the promotion infamously did it so Brock Lesnar could compete at UFC 200 (Lesnar would go on to fail multiple drug tests for that bout). More recently, UFC allowed Miesha Tate return in 2021 without six months of testing.
“We’ll see what happens,” Poirier said. “I’m not s—ing on the UFC, and I’m not s—ing on USADA. I don’t want to accuse or say things about either company without them making an official decision yet. I don’t know what they’re going to do with Conor and the drug testing thing. But if they do allow him to compete without drug testing? They’re making a whole joke of USADA.”
McGregor has already strained the boundaries on what’s acceptable and not under USADA testing. His removal from the testing pool was done in secret and only noticed after people realized he hadn’t been tested for more than one year. That was done so doctors could treat a bad leg break. While it makes sense to let athletes rehab horrific injuries with the full might of our medical knowledge, no one else has ever been allowed to “unsubscribe” from USADA like that.
While recovering from his injuries, McGregor swelled up from Lightweight to Welterweight. His growth was a major topic of conversation, with many fitness experts declaring there was no way he’d gained that much muscle mass naturally. That certainly adds an extra wrinkle to the whole debate.
And given Poirier is someone who’ll probably be facing McGregor again in the future, he has a vested interest in making sure Conor doesn’t get to dodge drug testing for his comeback.
For more TUF 31-related (and Conor McGregor) news and notes click here.