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USADA weighs in on Conor McGregor drama, says testing pool exception unlikely

McGregor had claimed he needed two clean tests before he could return to USADA’s testing pool.

Conor McGregor at a recent court appearance, for driving offenses, in Dublin.
Conor McGregor at a recent court appearance, for driving offenses, in Dublin.
Photo by Brian Lawless/PA Images via Getty Images

Former UFC champion Conor McGregor is embroiled in some controversy at the moment (what else is new?). However, for the first time in his career, USADA is playing a key role in one of the Irishman’s story-lines.

It all started when it was noted that McGregor had not been tested by USADA at all in 2022. Then, recently, McGregor claimed that he required two clean tests from USADA in order to return to the testing pool in February.

An observer noted that McGregor’s description of his plans fit very closely with USADA policy for athletes who notify the testing body that they had been taking a banned substance.

McGregor recently blew up online, raging against former UFC title challenger Anthony Smith over comments Smith made regarding McGregor’s lack of testing and seemingly bulkier physique. In that tirade, McGregor discussed the challenges involved in recovering from a complete leg fracture (which he suffered against Dustin Poirier in the summer of 2021).

USADA itself has now commented on this story. They spoke with ESPN stating that McGregor will need to be in their testing pool for six months before he can return to competition.

“McGregor is not enrolled in our testing pool and would have to be for six months unless an exception is granted, which we do not think would be applicable,” said USADA director of communications Averi Walker.

Assuming McGregor does enter the testing pool in February, and he does not get an exception, he will be cleared to compete in August 2023.