Michael Chandler has come to the defence of UFC rival Conor McGregor by insisting he believes the Irishman is clean.
McGregor, 34, has faced accusations of being 'juiced up' ahead of his UFC comeback fight against Chandler later this year. The former two-weight champion has packed on a considerable amount of muscle since breaking his leg against Dustin Poirier in their July 2021 trilogy fight but Chandler doesn't think his soon-to-be-opponent has taken performance-enhancing drugs.
Adding to claims that McGregor has taken steroids is his lack of drug testing as the Irishman dropped out of the USADA [UFC's anti-doping organisation] testing pool after his last fight. McGregor hasn't submitted a drug test since the last quarter of 2021 and he recently called for USADA to be put "in the bin" during a rant on Twitter about the organisation.
Chandler came to the defence of McGregor during a recent Instagram Q&A, in which he was asked if his rival passed the "eye and smell test" for steroids. "If I tell you I’m not on steroids or if Conor tells you that he’s not on steroids, all you can do is either accept that as fact or be left up to your won scepticism and that’s no way to live," he said.
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"My answer for did he pass the eye and smell test? He’s definitely gotten bigger and put on some muscle. Obviously when you break your leg and all you can do is lift upper body for the last year and a half, the dude is going to put on some muscle.
"Not to mention the fact that dude doesn’t want to fight at featherweight or lightweight anymore, he wants to go up to welterweight so he’s gotten bigger. But yes, he passed the test because I would never accuse somebody unless I saw them stick a needle in their body or take a pill."
UFC fighters are required to complete six months of mandatory drug testing before being eligible to fight, with USADA confirming this rule is no different for McGregor. The Irishman has insisted that use a loophole to bypass this rule that would see him eligible to fight by submitting just two clean tests.
McGregor detailed his issues with USADA in a now-deleted tweet that read: "I’ve not lied once. Nor have I tested positive. Ever. I have over 70 clean tests under this program, yet they are consistently coming out after I speak in a manner that makes it seem I am lying. It’s ridiculous. F*** USADA. You are in The Bin. Over 70 clean tests. Never violated once. I will not be scapegoated by this garbage organisation. You are not the be all end all in this equation USADA."