UFC and USADA parting ways as of January 1st, 2024

May 14, 2016; Curitiba, PR, Brazil; A view of the octagon ring before UFC 198 at Arena Atletico Paranaense. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Today we learned that former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor was back in the USADA drug testing pool. With McGregor officially in the pool, the countdown begins for his return. However, in the same release announcing that McGregor had re-entered the pool, USADA also announced that they and the UFC will no longer be working together as of January 1st.

It appears that the end of the relationship has a lot to do with the Conor McGregor situation. USADA released the following statement regarding McGregor and their relationship with the promotion.

“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. The UFC’s move imperils the immense progress made within the sport under USADA’s leadership.”

“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. One UFC commentator echoed this, recently declaring that USADA should not oversee the UFC program since we held firm to the six-month rule involving McGregor, and since we do not allow fighters without an approved medial basis to use performance-enhancing drugs like experimental, unapproved peptides or testosterone for healing or injuries simply to get back in the octagon.”

UFC and Drug Testing

The comments being referenced by USADA came from commentator Joe Rogan who was on his podcast talking about drug treatments that allow fighters to recover from injuries. It’s worth noting that Rogan was not endorsing athletes using PEDs for competition, but he was saying that fighters should be allowed to be on any potential medications or treatments that allow them to recover from devastating injuries such as the leg break that McGregor endured.

This is all fresh information so my assumption is that Dana White and the UFC will announce something in the near future. We know that they will continue drug testing, but it’s clear that they will no longer be working with USADA.

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