The UFC Is Cutting Ties With USADA Following Conor McGregor Dispute

USADA’s anti-doping program will no longer cover the UFC after the organization’s 2023 contract expires. 

On October 11th, 2023, USADA CEO Travis Tygart confirmed the news after talks between the two sides broke down over extending their contract. The news follows after USADA confirmed that Conor McGregor had re-entered the testing pool. However, Tygart admitted that the relationship between the two sides became worse due to McGregor’s situation with USADA.

The fighter had not enrolled until this month following his loss to Dustin Poirier in 2021 at UFC 264. Although that may have been the case, USADA requires that fighters provide two negative samples over a six-month period before they can compete. This is unless an exemption is given, something which USADA has already ruled out. And after having weighed up the benefits of working with the UFC, the two sides could not come to an agreement. 

“We have been clear and firm with the UFC that there should be no exception given by the UFC for McGregor to fight until he has returned two negative tests and been in the pool for at least six months. The rules also allow USADA to keep someone in the testing pool longer before competing based on their declarations upon entry in the pool and testing results.

“Despite a positive and productive meeting about a contract renewal in May 2023, the UFC did an about-face and informed USADA on Monday, October 9, that it was going in a different direction…The relationship between USADA and UFC became untenable given the statements made by UFC leaders and others questioning USADA’s principled stance that McGregor not be allowed to fight without being in the testing pool for at least six months,” USADA

Naturally, the UFC will have to consider working with another organization. As of now, no names have been put out there. However, the UFC could follow along the lines of boxing and ultilize VADA testing moving forward. But in the meantime, USADA’s comments raised a strong reaction from those within the MMA community, who had a lot to say about the matter. 

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