Conor McGregor is making the final move necessary to ensure his return to the UFC. Officials from the United States Anti-Doping Agency have stated that McGregor is set to re-enter the UFC’s anti-doping regimen in advance of his forthcoming fight. The announcement came after McGregor responded affirmatively when asked whether he would re-enter the testing pool. Under the rules of the UFC’s anti-doping program, fighters who retire or withdraw from the testing pool must undergo six months of drug testing prior to competing again.
In their statement, USADA confirmed that they had directly spoken with McGregor and that they expect to receive his paperwork to confirm his re-entry into the testing pool immediately. According to the USADA official, McGregor, like other athletes who come out of retirement, will be subject to drug testing for at least six months, and must provide two negative samples before he is cleared to compete.
This policy ensures that athletes who are not subject to a period of testing are adequately tested over a reasonable period of time before competing, thus maintaining a level playing field for all competitors. McGregor is expected to fight against Michael Chandler, his fellow Ultimate Fighter 31 coach, later in the year.
Although no official date has been set, and no announcements have been made regarding the UFC’s November or December cards, based on the date of McGregor’s return to the UFC’s anti-doping program, and assuming negative test results, he will likely be eligible to compete again in either November or December.
The fighter sustained a devastating injury in his last match against Dustin Poirier in 2021, which caused him to withdraw himself from the USADA drug testing pool. Typically, UFC fighters who are under contract are only permitted to exit the testing pool during retirement, which explains the language used by USADA in their statement.
McGregor has been vocal about fighting again since his injury, and has worked hard to recover. He has signed up to star in the new season of TUF 31 as Chandler’s fellow coach, ahead of their upcoming fight, which is expected to take place either at welterweight or middleweight. With McGregor’s commitment to re-join the UFC’s anti-doping program, it appears that one main hurdle will be cleared before he can fight again.