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Legal Dispute Brewing Between UFC And Anti-Doping Agency

  • MMA property threatens action against USADA, creates new drug-testing program
  • Public disclosure of McGregor re-entering testing pool sparks rebuke
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

UFC’s next big fight may be outside the Octagon as it escalates a bitter rift with a leading anti-doping agency.

The MMA property is creating its own drug-testing program and threatening legal action against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency after the latter claimed UFC did “an about-face” on the status of Conor McGregor, as well as on their future relationship.

USADA has said that McGregor, like any other fighter, must spend six months in a drug-testing pool and pass two tests before competing. Having been out of the pool since 2021, he made his reentry on Sunday. McGregor was previously expected to fight in December, but his status has been in question because of the testing rules.

“We do not currently know whether UFC will ultimately honor the six-month-or-longer requirement,” the agency said. “The UFC’s move imperils the immense progress made within the sport under USADA’s leadership.”

That prompted an angry reply from UFC, which objected to both the public announcement of McGregor’s entering the testing pool — something not normally done in order to protect athletes’ privacy — and the attacks on its organizational credibility. UFC also insisted that McGregor won’t be fighting until next year.

“It was a dirty move by them,” UFC president Dana White said of USADA on “The Pat McAfee Show.” “That was straight scumbag-ism what happened. … The you-know-what is about to hit the fan on that one.”

The property will begin working with Drug Free Sport International in January, when its current USADA deal ends.

Defying a UFC request for a public retraction and apology, USADA responded that it “stands by our statement and our credibility.”

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