Dana White confirms Conor McGregor’s return to USADA testing pool is imminent as the Irish star moves closer to UFC comeback
- McGregor dropped a major hint last week that he was back in the testing pool
- He’ll have to complete six months of random drugs tests before he can compete
- It means mooted fight with Michael Chandler could happen next year
Conor McGregor has moved another step closer to his fighting return after UFC supremo Dana White confirmed the Irishman is returning to the USADA testing pool.
Notorious, 35, hasn’t been in the Octagon since July 2021 when he suffered a broken leg against Dustin Poirier at UFC 264.
But the odds on a comeback, likely against Michael Chandler in the first half of next year, are shortening.
McGregor has been back sparring and training for several months now, as well as coaching a in a series of The Ultimate Fighter against Chandler.
However, McGregor has been out of the US Anti-Doping Agency pool since the third quarter of 2021 and so must complete six months of random drug testing before being cleared to fight – ruling out a UFC return this year.
Conor McGregor has taken another step towards his UFC comeback with Dana White and USADA confirming the Irishman will imminently return to the testing pool
UFC supremo White was giving little away and isn’t planning with McGregor just yet
The Irishman has not competed inside the octagon since breaking his leg at UFC 264 in 2021
Last week, McGregor excited fans with an Instagram post in which he revealed he’d ‘submitted my stuff to Novtizky’ to get the ‘ball rolling’.
Jeff Novtizky is the senior vice president of Athlete Health and Performance for the UFC – who helps with USADA testing.
White confirmed McGregor’s return to the testing pool is imminent. ‘No, he is not officially in the USADA pool. He has submitted the paperwork so probably by Monday he will be submitted,’ he said.
‘Again, don’t hold me to that but the paperwork is submitted so next week sometime.’
White added: ‘I literally have nothing planned with Conor McGregor right now, the paperwork is being submitted.’
USADA also released a statement to this effect: ‘We have recently been in direct contact with Conor McGregor. As he confirmed today in the media, we expect to receive his paperwork coming out of retirement and re-entering the USADA testing pool immediately.
‘Like other athletes who come out of retirement, under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, McGregor will be subject to testing for at least six months and must provide at least two negative samples before being permitted to compete.
‘The purpose of this rule is to ensure that all athletes who are not subject to a period of testing are adequately tested over a reasonable period of time before competing to ensure a level playing field for all athletes.’
White wouldn’t be committed on when precisely McGregor could return, though UFC 300 is a possibility.
McGregor threw out a hint at a potential UFC return in an Instagram post last week
‘We’ll play it by ear and see how things work out. There is still a lot of things that have to happen, as far as fights go, then we’ll figure out where he is going to land.’
Chandler told the MMA Hour, as per MMAfighting.com, that he is confident a bout with McGregor will take place.
He said: ‘The status is, unequivocally, the fight is still happening. The fight is not booked for a date, the fight is not booked for a venue, but the fight is booked.
‘There’s no way Conor comes back and doesn’t fight me. If Conor doesn’t fight me, he’s probably just not coming back, and that’s out of my control. He’s coming back, he’s fighting me.
‘At this point, by deductive reasoning, by process of elimination, there’s a main event in December, there’s a main event in November, we’re not going to not be a main event, so that pushes it into 2024.
‘I’m ready to fight in January, February, March, April, May, whatever. We’ll see. Obviously, it makes a lot of sense that there’s a very historic card coming up with the UFC.
‘I haven’t been told that’s when it’s going to be, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s when it is. And if it is, I’ve got more and more time to prepare.’
Michael Chandler (right) is still confident that he will fight McGregor, saying it would ‘make a lot of sense with a ‘historic card coming up’
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