There remains a heavy cloud of uncertainty over former two-division champion Conor McGregor’s UFC return.
Earlier this year, the Irishman’s comeback was confirmed to come against ex-Bellator titleholder Michael Chandler, with the pair first doing battle as coaches on the 2023 edition of The Ultimate Fighter.
But while the show will wrap up this week ahead of the finals at UFC 292 in Boston on Saturday night, the usual Octagon showdown between coaches is nowhere to be seen on the promotion’s announced schedule.
The main talk surrounding McGregor’s delayed comeback has seemingly centered around his USADA status, with the Dubliner appearing to remain outside of the testing pool. The anti-doping agency’s rules dictate that a fighter must be in the pool for six months and submit two clean tests before returning to competition.
Despite not fulfilling those obligations for a fight before the end of the year, both UFC President Dana White and McGregor himself have remained confident of putting it together, with the latter recently claiming his comeback is set for December.
Should that be the case, the UFC will need to grant an exemption from the testing pool timeframe, a potential decision that has certainly split opinion.
Cormier Outlines Issue With McGregor’s USADA Status
Amid the growing discussion about McGregor’s situation, Chandler suggested that he’d be more than happy to share the Octagon with the former ‘champ-champ’ without him first spending six months in the testing pool should he return two clean samples.
While Daniel Cormier acknowledged the likelihood of that happening during a video recently uploaded to his YouTube channel, he outlined the problem that comes with such special treatment.
“Conor confirmed it, and confirmed it for December, saying it’ll be him and Chandler,” Cormier said. “We’ve all been led to believe that Conor McGregor doesn’t have to do anything if he doesn’t want to. Hell, he doesn’t have to be in the USADA program, even though the rules have stated that it has to be six months before he goes into actual competition.
“His manager, Audie Attar, said, ‘We will do everything the right way,’ but let’s not forget Conor was one of the most tested athletes in the USADA program before he got injured,” McGregor continued. “Here’s where the issue becomes. You make that exemption, then how do you implement the rule for the rest of the people? … My question is, how do you implement and make the USADA program be what it’s supposed to be when there are rooms for exceptions?”
It remains to be seen whether an exemption is the UFC’s plan, but given White’s past dismissal of USADA when it comes to dictating McGregor’s comeback, it certainly doesn’t seem to be out of the question.
And with the likes of Beneil Dariush and Dustin Poirier speaking out against the possible move, the promotion will likely receive heavy backlash should McGregor find himself back in the cage before adhering to regulations.
🙌 “When am I back? December.”
🔥 “Chandler next. I have to fight him. Then it’s Gaethje & then the Nate trilogy…”
UFC legend @TheNotoriousMMA maps out his next few fights to @GarethADaviesDT pic.twitter.com/SrwIz1mU6r
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) August 12, 2023
Read Also: Nate Diaz Weighs In On Conor McGregor’s USADA Situation: ‘They Let Him Do Sh*t Whenever He Wants!’
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