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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Martin Domin

Conor McGregor suffers blow in bid to make early return for UFC comeback fight

Conor McGregor will not be eligible to fight Michael Chandler until at least mid-September after USADA insisted he will not be exempt from their drug-testing rules.

Former two-weight UFC champion McGregor has not been tested for over a year as he recovered from the broken leg he suffered in his defeat by Dustin Poirier. The Irishman will return to the cage later this year to take on Chandler but no date has been set for the showdown.

But he will first have to be tested for six months by USADA, despite claiming he was confident he would be handed an exemption as he targeted a return to action in late summer. A statement from USADA read: "While we meet with all athletes who enter or re-enter the testing pool, we do not currently have a meeting set with Conor and, as of today, we have not received notice of his coming out of retirement to compete.

Conor McGregor faces a wait to make his UFC return (Louis Grasse/SPP/REX/Shutterstock)

"The UFC rules are clear that, in addition to two negative tests, an athlete must make themself available for testing for six months before returning to competition. This is a fair way to ensure an athlete does not use the retirement status to gain an unfair advantage by using prohibited substances during the retirement period, which would enhance their performance unfairly if they ultimately decide to return to competition.

"While the rules permit the UFC to make an exception to the six-month rule in exceptional circumstances, when the strict application of the rule would be manifestly unfair to the athlete, our position, which we have made clear, is that Conor should be in the testing pool for the full six-month period."

Will Conor McGregor beat Michael Chandler? Let us know in the comments section below

McGregor had earlier claimed he was in the process of setting up a meeting with USADA to resolve the issue. "I'm not rushing anything," he said during an appearance on the MMA Hour when asked about his USADA testing status. "There's hurdles and what not, but we're in constant communication.

"There is also an interview scheduled and a meeting happens and then it will be official. But the six months thing, what they had said was two clean tests and off I go, so I assume it won't be too long."

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