USADA has confirmed to Bloody Elbow that Brock Lesnar only re-entered the registered testing pool on July 3rd, and will be ineligible to compete until January 8th, 2019 at the earliest. A spokesperson for USADA provided the following statement to Bloody Elbow:
“After receiving notice of his intent to compete in the UFC, USADA re-entered Brock Lesnar to the testing pool on July 3. With six months and four days remaining on his period of ineligibility, Lesnar will be able to compete on or after January 8, 2019, should he remain in compliance with the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.”
Usually situations involving new or returning fighters allow for UFC or USADA granted exemptions, but fighters who retire while under the suspension must serve the remainder of their suspension in the registered testing pool, or serve six months in the pool; whichever is longer. No exemptions are available.
USADA’s statement would appear to put an end to speculation that Lesnar had secretly been part of the testing pool previously and would be returning in November, as originally reported by Bleacher Report’s Jeremy Botter on Twitter.
This is true, from what multiple sources have told me. Lesnar is in the pool and is hidden from public viewing in their database. https://t.co/ivnrKBQEt9— Jeremy Botter (@jeremybotter) July 8, 2018
Brock Lesnar will fight the winner of tonight’s main event in November at Madison Square Garden for the UFC heavyweight championship, multiple sources confirm.— Jeremy Botter (@jeremybotter) July 8, 2018
If Lesnar had been in the pool but his tests were being hidden as claimed, that would have severely undermined trust in the entire testing system administered by USADA. That may be what led to USADA taking the unusual step of confirming when Lesnar entered the testing pool on Monday, which is something they have repeatedly refused to do in the past. His entry on July 3rd would mean no tests were hidden from the public.
USADA’s statement would appear to contradict the UFC’s own statements from February 2017 about when, exactly, Lesnar retired. Based on the timeline the UFC provided Marc Raimondi of MMA Fighting, and the statement the UFC gave USA Today about when Lesnar retired, Lesnar should have had 5 months left on his suspension, not 6 months and 4 days.
The UFC announcing its plans to book Lesnar in a title fight against new heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier before he has completed his mandatory suspension period from the failed drug test prior to his last fight has led to questions about the promotion’s commitment to the ‘clean sport’ principles it’s anti-doping partner, USADA, regularly touts.