Following Saturday night’s UFC 280 post-fight press conference, I thought the UFC would drop Conor McGregor from the official UFC rankings pool. Barring that, I hoped the folks responsible for deciding what fighters land on those rankings would have the decency to drop McGregor from the rankings. Silly me.
During his time on the dais in Abu Dhabi, UFC president Dana White implied that former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor is no longer in the USADA testing pool. USADA has since confirmed this as well.
With that, McGregor is now considered an inactive fighter. To compete in the UFC again (barring special dispensation from the UFC - and the last time the UFC gave that, it bit them in the ass), he needs to opt into the testing pool and participate in USADA testing for six months — and test clean — before he can step into the octagon again.
Despite White and now USADA’s revelations, the UFC left McGregor’s name on the rankings list. And then, although the former champ, who has not fought since July 2021 and who hasn’t been tested by USADA since the third quarter of 2021, made the top 15. McGregor, whose last win in the division happened six years ago, somehow remains ranked at lightweight despite officially being an inactive fighter.
That fact is mind-boggling.
Perhaps McGregor was left available to be ranked before this week because the UFC wanted to pretend he was in the USADA pool and his return was imminent. But now that White and USADA both publicly said that’s not the case, why is he still eligible to be ranked? Others in a similar situation — like Henry Cejudo and Khabib Nurmagomedov — were removed from the rankings after they left the testing pool.
And why did the voting panel, which we have been led to believe are real live MMA media members who follow the sport, still elect to put McGregor in the rankings?
The truth is out there. McGregor is not coming back anytime soon. Because of that fact, the UFC needs to drop him from the rankings pool. Short of that, the voting panel needs to do the right thing and select an active and available fighter and place him in the top 15 of the lightweight division.
I never expected much from the UFC’s official rankings, but this is just further proof they’re pretty much meaningless.