Brock Lesnar Given USADA Exemption for UFC 200
Brock Lesnar shocked the world by announcing his return to MMA at UFC 200, despite currently being under contract to WWE. At the pay-per-view event on July 9 in Las Vegas, Lesnar will fight Mark Hunt on what basically amounts to one month’s notice of his intention to come out of retirement. This presented a bit of a problem, with regards to UFC’s Anti-Doping policy, which stipulates that any fighter coming out of retirement needs to give four months notice before returning to active competition. But this is Brock Lesnar we’re talking about here. All the usual rules might as well fly out the window.
Apparently, there is a loophole in the USADA (U.S. Anti-Doping Agency) policy that will allow Lesnar to compete at UFC 200, despite not having fought since his defeat at the hands of Alistair Overeem at UFC 141 in 2011. UFC would go into detail about the loophole in their official statement on the matter:
On June 6, 2016, UFC heavyweight Brock Lesnar was registered by USADA into the UFC Anti-Doping Policy testing pool. As part of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, UFC may grant a former athlete an exemption to the four-month written notice rules in exceptional circumstances or where the strict application of that rule would be manifestly unfair to an athlete. Given Lesnar last competed in UFC on December 30, 2011, long before the UFC Anti-Doping Policy went into effect, for purposes of the Anti-Doping Policy, he is being treated similarly to a new athlete coming into the organization.
While conversations with the heavyweight have been ongoing for some time, Lesnar required permission from WWE to compete in UFC 200 and only agreed to terms and signed a bout agreement last Friday. He was therefore unable to officially start the Anti-Doping Policy process any earlier. UFC, however, did notify Lesnar in the early stages of discussions that if he were to sign with the UFC, he would be subject to all of the anti-doping rules. Lesnar and his management have now been formally educated by USADA on the policy, procedures and expectations.
So there you have it. Lesnar is basically grandfathered in, since this policy wasn’t in effect when he retired. For the purposes of the USADA, this isn’t an athlete coming out of retirement, it’s an athlete making his UFC debut. While you could argue that’s kind of a B.S. rationale, I can’t complain if it means we get Lesnar vs. Hunt at UFC 200. I also seriously doubt Lesnar is the type of guy who’d get popped for any banned substances anyway. Granted, you never know, and it’s better to be safe than sorry with testing. But there shouldn’t be any problem in putting Lesnar through all the necessary tests prior to UFC 200.
What do you think about Lesnar being granted an exception by USADA? Sound off in the comments!