Conor McGregor has found himself embroiled in a contentious dispute between the UFC and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
USADA CEO Travis Tygart issued a statement on Wednesday, confirming McGregor's re-entry into their drug testing program ahead of his comeback. In the same statement, Tygart disclosed that the UFC's eight-year partnership with USADA would conclude on December 31.
Tygart suggested that the rift between his organization and Dana White's promotion stemmed from McGregor's reluctance to undergo six months of random drug testing before returning to competition.
During a press conference on Thursday, UFC executive vice president and chief business officer Hunter Campbell, along with senior vice president of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitsky, announced the UFC's new partnership with Drug Free Sport International. Campbell expressed disappointment with Tygart's assertion that the UFC sought to expedite McGregor's return without adhering to the mandatory six-month testing period for any fighter re-entering the testing pool.
Campbell clarified, "At no point in time did Jeff, myself, or any other UFC representative, Dana – not a single person ever went to USADA and told them anything other than Conor McGregor would re-enter the program when he was healthy. In doing so, we would require him to be in the program for six months. There would be no exception to the rule."
Campbell emphasized the need for thorough testing of McGregor but believed that the former dual-weight UFC champion had faced "disgusting" mistreatment by USADA.
He added, "This is one of those cases where Conor was the most tested athlete in the UFC before he catastrophically shattered his leg. The conversations I had with Conor and his physician when that occurred had nothing to do with fighting; they were legitimately concerned he wasn't going to regain full use of his leg ever again, including the ligaments around it. And I'll say it one last time, what they've done to him is disgusting. 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."
In response to these accusations, Campbell demanded a public apology for the insinuation that "the UFC ended its relationship with USADA to expedite McGregor's return to the UFC."
Tygart responded by stating, "We stand by our statement and credibility."
It appears that the UFC and USADA will spend the final months of their working relationship locked in a legal battle.