UFC: Conor McGregor takes first drug test after two-year hiatus

Conor McGregor recently completed his initial drug test after rejoining the UFC's anti-doping program on October 8. The former two-division champion left the testing program in 2021 due to a significant leg injury sustained during a fight with Dustin Poirier in July 2021.

In this recent test, McGregor provided three samples during a single examination administered by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). While online records confirm McGregor's test, they do not specify the precise date of the sample collection. This examination included the collection of both blood and urine samples.

The UFC's anti-doping regulations, developed through collaboration between the promotion and USADA, mandate that a fighter who re-enters the testing program must spend at least six months in it and pass two drug tests before competing in the Octagon again.

McGregor is poised to become eligible for competition on or after April 8, 2024, with a potential fight against Michael Chandler in the works. There has been no official announcement regarding the fight's date or location.

McGregor's potential early return

The UFC is transitioning from its partnership with USADA to working with Drug Free Sport.

USADA CEO Travis Tygart has said McGregor should not be permitted to fight before April. He expressed concerns about how the change in the UFC's partnership might impact the sport's progress under USADA's oversight.

Tygart maintained that the UFC aimed to show favoritism to McGregor by potentially exempting him from the six-month rule. He told ESPN that it was USADA's public insistence on applying the rule uniformly to all athletes, including McGregor, which bothered the UFC and prompted its change of stance.

"They don't like having someone else have influence, I guess, that the rules should apply to every athlete," Tygart said. "No athlete is above the rules. Even if you're a publicly traded company and you might stand to make $100 million at the end of the fiscal year, or something."

UFC chief business officer Hunter Campbell denied the accusations. He criticized USADA for attempting to blame McGregor for the end of their partnership.

"And for an entity that holds themselves out to have a level of honor and integrity, using him as a media vehicle to advance a fake narrative is disturbing, disgusting, and I think they have some legitimate legal liability that they should be very concerned with," said Campbell.

USADA will only handle sample collection for UFC athletes until the end of 2023. Starting in 2024, Drug Free Sport International will be responsible for collecting samples for the UFC's anti-doping program, led by former FBI agent George Piro as the program administrator.

During a news conference on October 12, the UFC provided a legal letter sent to USADA in response to Tygart's statements, claiming they were defamatory and demanding an apology and retraction by 5 p.m. the same day, which USADA did not comply with.

UFC President Dana White has also criticized Tygart and USADA in various high-profile interviews. In response, Tygart emphasized the importance of clean sport, a fair competition environment and athlete well-being.