In January, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) will terminate its association with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). This decision comes after Conor McGregor’s reentry into its testing regimen earlier this week. This action is attributed to the deteriorating nature of the relationship between the organizations due to the McGregor saga.
Usada disclosed on the 11th of October that McGregor had once again entered the sphere of its rigorous testing protocols. This development marks McGregor’s impending return to the octagon since his last bout in July 2021. Wherein he sustained a broken leg during his second consecutive defeat to Dustin Poirier.
In order to be eligible for participation in the UFC, athletes must be under Usada’s testing jurisdiction for six months. Producing no positive test results and at least two negative ones. This implies that the earliest conceivable date for McGregor’s return is in April. However, Usada has stated that it cannot guarantee that McGregor will complete the full six months. As it will not renew its partnership with the UFC come January.
Usada clarified that this decision stems from their unease with the McGregor situation, particularly after the UFC and the fighter had suggested earlier in the year that Usada might grant a special exemption to expedite his return to the ring.
Usada CEO Travis Tygart remarked, “We can confirm that Conor McGregor has re-entered the Usada testing pool as of Sunday, October 8, 2023. We have consistently conveyed to the UFC that no exceptions should be made for McGregor to compete until he has furnished two negative tests and been subject to the testing regimen for at least half a year. The regulations also permit Usada to extend an individual’s testing period based on their declarations at the time of entry into the program and their subsequent test results.”
“Unfortunately, we are presently uncertain whether the UFC will ultimately honor the stipulated six-month period or an extended duration. This uncertainty arises from the fact that, commencing on January 1, 2024. Usada will no longer be a part of the UFC Anti-Doping Program.”
“Despite a constructive and productive negotiation regarding a contract extension in May 2023. UFC performed an abrupt about-face, informing Usada on the 9th of October that they were moving in a different direction. We are dishearten for the UFC athletes, who are autonomous contractors relying on our autonomous. Globally recognized program to safeguard their rights to a clean, secure, and equitable octagon. The UFC’s pivot jeopardizes the substantial progress achieved within the sport under Usada’s guidance.”
“The long-term well-being and safety of fighters, along with a level and equitable competitive environment. Take precedence for Usada over transient profits at the cost of clean athletes. Usada takes immense pride in the efforts dedicated to cleaning up the UFC over the past eight years and will continue to offer our unrivaled services to UFC athletes until the culmination of our existing contract on December 31, 2023.”
“As always, we shall persist in upholding the rights and advocating for the voices of clean athletes across all sporting domains.”
“The association between Usada and the UFC became unsustainable in light of statements made by UFC leadership and other stakeholders questioning Usada’s unwavering position that McGregor should not permitted to compete without fulfilling the requisite six-month testing period.”