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USADA responds to Conor McGregor not being tested since late 2021

The drug testing body sought to clarify their testing protocols.

Conor McGregor Body Language Breakdown

Former UFC champion Conor McGregor has been living it up since healing from a broken leg suffered in a fight with Dustin Poirier last year. The Irishman has been partying in Italy, Cannes and the US and has gotten into a number of scuffles along the way.

Something he hasn’t done this year, is pee in a cup under the watchful gaze of the Unites States Anti-Doping Agency. TSN’s Aaron Bronstetter looked through the USADA database showing and learned that McGregor is the only active fighter to not be tested at all this calendar year. What made this statement even stranger is the fact that a number of inactive fighters were still tested by USADA over the same time-span, including Travis Browne and Sheldon Westcott.

MMA Fighting reached out to USADA to ask what was up with McGregor’s lack of testing.

“Once UFC athletes are enrolled in the testing program, they are subject to testing - even when not competing - unless they notify the UFC of their retirement, their contract is terminated, or they are otherwise removed from the program,” replied an official, who declined to comment on any specific individuals in the testing pool.

“In the event of an athlete’s return to the UFC, they are required to remain in the USADA testing pool for six months before they are permitted to compete. Similar to World Anti-Doping Agency rules, the UFC may grant an exemption to the six-month written notice rule in exceptional circumstances or where the strict application of that rule would be manifestly unfair to the athlete, but in both cases under the UFC rules, the athlete must provide at least two negative samples before returning to competition. We do not comment on the testing pool status of any particular athlete.”

Clear as mud. Thanks USADA.

According to USADA’s official website, all UFC fighters are enrolled in the UFC’s anti-doping program and are subjected to spontaneous testing. Those fighters must also keep USADA informed about their whereabouts at all times.

USADA’s policy does mention that the agency will target specific athletes for testing, based on factors that include:

  • Physical demands of the sport and possible performance-enhancing effect that doping may elicit
  • Available doping analysis statistics
  • Available research on doping trends
  • History of doping in the sport and/or discipline
  • Training periods and the competition calendar
  • Information received on possible doping practices

McGregor had been expected to return to action in 2022. However, that now seems unlikely.

McGregor is 1-3 in the UFC since beating Eddie Alvarez to win the UFC title in 2016. Over that span he has beaten Donald Cerrone, lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov by submission and been TKO’d twice by Dustin Poirier.