Friday, December 9, 2022

Helwani: The USADA/McGregor Situation Is Not A Good Look

MMA reporter Ariel Helwani has given his take on the lack of USADA testing conducted on Conor McGregor in 2022, describing it as “not a great look.”

Every year, UFC athletes are tested by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. The fighters eligible include anyone registered in the testing pool, which has even seen inactive names like Travis Browne and John Hathaway paid visits by USADA agents in 2022. This year, every fighter has been tested — bar one.

In a notable omission, former two-division champion McGregor is the sole fighter (aside from some recent signings) to have not been tested to date in 2022. The revelation was reported by TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter, who cross-referenced the entire roster with USADA’s test history database.

McGregor hasn’t appeared inside the Octagon since UFC 264 last July. In the main event, the Irishman suffered a gruesome broken leg against Dustin Poirier.

But despite being sidelined through a long-term injury, testing would still have been expected, especially considering Chris Weidmanwho suffered a leg break himself just three months prior — has been tested four times.

With that said, a number of fans and pundits have expressed their suspicions about McGregor’s testing let-off, including longtime journalist Ariel Helwani.

Helwani: Lack Of McGregor Testing “Seems Dicey”

During the Q&A section of a recent episode of The MMA Hour, Helwani was asked to give his thoughts on the McGregor-USADA revelation.

After noting his confusion at the fact that inactive veterans are still being tested, the Canadian suggested that the former lightweight and featherweight king’s test-free year is a worrying look for the anti-doping agency.

“Definitely seems dicey. Don’t understand why the Travis Brownes of the world would be tested at this point, that makes no sense to me,” Helwani said. “Not a great look. But I have felt from the beginning that USADA was mired in all kinds of holes, if you will. It felt like the goalposts were always being moved, whether it was for Brock (Lesnar), whether it was for Jon Jones.

“When’s the last event that was affected by a USADA suspension? We saw a bunch of them at the beginning. When’s the last time that happened? Isn’t that a little bit weird? Who’s the last big name that we saw got popped? Is everyone just clean all of a sudden? I have a hard time believing that,”Helwani added. “Obviously a clean sport is paramount… but I hate the fact that the fighters have never gotten a say in the matter.”

The report also came at a time when McGregor is beginning to pick up the intensity of his training and sparring ahead of what appears to be a likely return in 2023.

This also isn’t Helwani’s first issue with USADA, which has been recognized as the official independent anti-doping agency for the UFC since 2015. The 40-year-old has previously criticized the organisation’s whereabouts policy, which requires athletes to update an app with their location at all times.

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