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The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said the UFC would not be renewing its contract with the organization in 2024.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is terminating its agreement with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) just days after former UFC champion Conor McGregor re-entered the testing pool.
McGregor announced on social media that he has returned to the USADA testing pool, a step he must take before returning to the octagon for the first time since suffering a broken leg during his last fight in July 2021.
McGregor said he's been in contact with UFC President Dana White about fighting Michael Chandler sometime in December. But USADA requires fighters to be in the testing pool for at least six months and submit two negative tests in order to be eligible to fight.
"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," USADA CEO Travis Tygart said in a statement. "Unfortunately, we do not currently know whether the UFC will ultimately honor the six-month or longer requirement because, as of January 1, 2024, USADA will no longer be involved with the UFC Anti-Doping Program."
Despite inquiring about a contract renewal next spring, USADA said it was informed by the UFC on Monday that the organization was going in a different direction.
"We are disappointed for UFC athletes, who are independent contractors who rely on our independent, gold-standard global program to protect their rights to a clean, safe, and fair Octagon," Tygart added. "The UFC’s move imperils the immense progress made within the sport under USADA’s leadership."
USADA's work typically involves Olympic sports and athletes. That's until the agency partnered with the UFC back in 2015, marking its first deal with a professional U.S. sports organization.
While it's still unclear which direction the UFC is heading with its drug testing protocol, it also remains to be seen when — or if — McGregor will fight before year's end. As it stands currently, fight fans may have to wait until early 2024 to witness the former UFC champ's return.
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