USADA Says No Meeting with McGregor Booked, Conor Blasts Anti-Doping Org

Conor McGregor, UFC 257
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 22: Conor McGregor of Ireland poses on the scale during the UFC 257 weigh-in at Etihad Arena on UFC Fight Island on January 22, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Conor McGregor believes he’ll need only two clean drug tests, and not six months in the USADA pool, prior to returning to action against against Michael Chandler later this year.

The UFC star, who has made the claim on more than one occasion, once again raised eyebrows when he reiterated the statement during a busy media schedule that saw numerous interviews with the star go live on Wednesday.

“We’re in contact, we’re in constant communication, and there’s an interview scheduled and a meeting [will] happen, and then it will be official,” McGregor told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “But the six months thing, what they had said was it’s two clean tests, and off I go. So I assume it won’t be too long.”

USADA painted a different picture in a statement provided to Cageside Press and other media outlets on Thursday.

“While we meet with all athletes who enter or re-enter the testing pool, we do not currently have a meeting set with Conor and, as of today, we have not received notice of his coming out of retirement to compete.”

The anti-doping organization also made clear that their preference is to have McGregor undergo the full six months of drug screening — though ultimately the decision on whether or not to waive that testing window lies in the hands of the UFC.

“The UFC rules are clear that, in addition to two negative tests, an athlete must make themself available for testing for six months before returning to competition. This is a fair way to ensure an athlete does not use the retirement status to gain an unfair advantage by using prohibited substances during the retirement period, which would enhance their performance unfairly if they ultimately decide to return to competition. While the rules permit the UFC to make an exception to the six-month rule in exceptional circumstances, when the strict application of the rule would be manifestly unfair to the athlete, our position, which we have made clear, is that Conor should be in the testing pool for the full six-month period.”

USADA officials previously confirmed to Cageside Press that the UFC, and UFC alone, are the decision makers in granting an exception. Such exceptions have been handed out at least twice before: at UFC 200, the testing window was waived for WWE star and former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, who would later fail a drug test, leading to a lengthy legal battle between the promotion and Lesnar’s opponent, Mark Hunt.

Things went much smoother when ex-champ Miesha Tate had the window waived when she returned to competition in 2021.

Whether USADA’s opinion really matters or not in this case (given the UFC has the final say), McGregor put the organization on blast Thursday afternoon. “Over 70 clean tests. Never violated once. I will not be scapegoated by this garbage organization. You are not the be all end all in this equation usada,” he wrote on social media.

Another comment by the clearly irate Irish star said only “Usada is going in the bin.

McGregor later added an audio clip, singing “USADA” in place of “Mandy” in the track Barry Manilow made famous.