Why Conor McGregor is unlikely to return to the UFC Octagon anytime soon

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Fight fans can hardly find themselves anxiously awaiting a fighter back on a 1-3 run with the three losses by stoppage and the lone win coming over three years ago. That’s exactly where fans sit with Conor McGregor, however, as the biggest star in mixed martial arts’ comeback has been teased but remains a mystery.

McGregor looked set to return for the first time since suffering a TKO loss with a broken leg in his July 2021 triple with Dustin Poirier when he was announced as one of the coaches for the current season of “The Ultimate Fighter”. A fight with opposing coach Michael Chandler was expected to continue the season, as is tradition for the show.

A date for the fight with Chandler has not come to fruition and likely won’t because McGregor has yet to enter the USADA testing pool. A fighter must be in the USADA testing pool for at least six months before they can fight. If McGregor has been in the pool, he hasn’t been tested yet. As this means he is not registered, it means he will not be available to fight in 2023.

McGregor has previously stated that he believed he would be cleared to return with just two clean tests, bypassing the normal rules.

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“I’m not rushing anything,” McGregor said during a March appearance on The MMA Hour. “There are obstacles and what not, but we are always in contact and there is an interview scheduled and there will be a meeting and then it will be official. assume it won’t be too long”

This sparked a tweet in November when MacGregor wrote“I am clear for tests in February. I will complete my two tests per USADA and we are booking a fight.”

In both cases, USADA dismissed the idea that McGregor was exempt, including report in March.

“UFC rules are clear that, in addition to two negative tests, an athlete must make themselves available for a six-month test before returning to competition,” the statement read. “This is a fair way to ensure that an athlete does not use their retired status to gain an unfair advantage by using banned substances during a period of retirement, which would unfairly enhance their performance if they ultimately decide to return to competition .UFC to make an exception to the six-month rule in special circumstances, when a strict application of the rule would be manifestly unfair to the athlete, our position, which we have made clear, is that it should Conor to be in the testing pool for the athlete. a total period of six months.”

In the end, the UFC can offer absolution, though it would most likely be badly received. It would not be unique. The UFC granted Brock Lesnar a waiver for UFC 200, allowing him to avoid the four-month testing pool requirement when he returned from a five-year absence to fight Mark Hunt. Lesnar failed two drug tests around the event and his win was overturned to a no contest.

In the end, it could be more than just complying with the drug testing requirements that keeps McGregor – who appears to have packed on a lot of muscle since his last fight – out of the a cage

Boxing legend Marvin Hagler famously said, “It’s hard to get out of bed to do road work at 5am when you’ve been sleeping in silk pajamas. “

UFC president Dana White appeared to suggest a quote could apply to the 2023 version of McGregor when asked about the status of the former featherweight and lightweight champion’s comebacks at a press conference after Fight Night fight earlier in June.

“First of all, Conor called me a couple of days ago and he loved the first episode of The Ultimate Fighter, and said how happy he was to be a part of it,” White said. ‘ think of being here and the environment and everything else, he felt again and felt that he wanted to get back and fight. The only thing you need to understand , that this kid has so much money. He’s like Khabib now. It’s like these guys have a lot of money and it’s hard to bring those guys back in and the shoot to fight.”

The delay in McGregor’s return could also be the result of a financial disagreement between what McGregor wants and what the UFC is willing to offer.

The UFC continues to turn incredible profits year after year thanks to television rights, pay-per-view business and live gates while maintaining a low percentage of revenue flowing to management the fighters.

McGregor is a big star. but the UFC doesn’t really rely on individual stars to make money. McGregor undoubtedly wants a high price, and would have little qualms about asking for more than any fixed contract.

The UFC and parent company Endeavor, which currently owns WWE, may not be willing to meet McGregor’s demands. This is perhaps even more true since McGregor, since becoming a two-division champion in 2016, has been plagued by legal troubles, lost to Floyd Mayweather in the boxing ring and stops by Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirier (twice). McGregor’s only win since that breakthrough moment was over Eddie Alvarez in January 2020 over Donald Cerrone in the middle of a stretch where Cerrone went seven fights without a win before retiring.

McGregor is a superstar, there’s no doubt about that. But he’s a superstar who hasn’t proven he can hang at an elite level for many years. The asking price may be too high due to the quality of McGregor’s recent performances and the UFC’s ability to simply make money by maintaining the status quo.

Whatever the reason, McGregor’s return to the Octagon appears to be much further away than it seemed a few months ago.

Fans needing McGregor’s fix may just have to settle for his appearances on The Ultimate Fighter, where his team is currently 0-5 and has received a lot of criticism online for being apparently he was rarely around to actually “coach”.

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