This seems familiar. Brock Lesnar is linked to rumors that he could return to UFC for another fight.
Why wouldn't he?
At 40 years old, there are far older running around in UFC's Heavyweight division right now, including Mark Hunt, the man Lesnar beat (the decision was later overturned) last July at UFC 200. Lesnar could probably make a decent go of it, and his WWE deal is up after WrestleMania 34.
The thus-far unfounded rumors claim that Lesnar was spotted as UFC headquarters last week and is tentatively scheduled for a fight in Madison Square Garden in November. While that would surely be big box office business, the logistics don't work out for that to happen.
Brock Lesnar was suspended for one year after failing a series of drug tests last year ahead of his aforementioned UFC 200 bout with Mark Hunt. Lesnar was subsequently handed down one-year suspensions by United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) at Nevada Athletic Commission for the failures. Lesnar's Nevada suspension was fulfilled on July 15, but his USADA situation is trickier.
Lesnar informed UFC and USADA of his "retirement" in mid-February. What this did was remove Lesnar from the USADA testing pool, and eliminated his requirement to maintain 'whereabouts' -- letting the testing agency know where you are at all times. UFC Fighter Elias Theodorou once told us that USADA testers climbed his fire escape in order to administer a test on him.
USADA, a third-party testing company that UFC contracts to test, have their own suspension on Lesnar separate to that of the NAC. If Lesnar were to try to compete outside the UFC (he can't, he has a contract), he'd be eligible to compete immediately.
When Lesnar notified the two entities of his retirement, he had six months remaining on his suspension. That was "frozen" until Lesnar re-enters the testing pool. If he were to re-enter today, he'd remain ineligible until mid-December. USADA keeps a weekly updated list of their testing history -- Lesnar hasn't been tested this year.
Here's USADA's official language regarding such scenarios.
“Pursuant to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, all UFC athletes serving a period of ineligibility for an anti-doping policy violation are required to remain in the USADA registered testing pool and make themselves available for testing in order to receive credit for time served under his or her sanction,” USADA’s press release regarding Lesnar’s suspension stated. “Furthermore, if an athlete retires during his or her period of ineligibility, the athlete’s sanction will be tolled until such time the athlete notifies USADA of his or her return from retirement and once again makes him or herself available for no-advance-notice, out-of-competition testing.”
Lesnar gained the ire of many as he wasn't required to wait out the four month window for "returning fighters" last year when he came back to the UFC. The reason for this was Lesnar was treated as a new signing. He left UFC years before USADA testing was implemented and wasn't held to the same contractual standards as a fighter who had retired since implementation. For example -- Urijah Faber, Miesha Tate both retired while under the reign of USADA and would be subject to that four month testing requirement. Lesnar, Chuck Liddell, Royce Gracie were all out of the UFC well before and weren't. However, now that Lesnar has re-retired, he'd be subject to that four month testing period regardless of suspension.
This has caused a ripple effect, and what many call the "Angela Hill Rule." Hill was fired by the UFC in 2015, but brought back a year later -- both under USADA at the times. Hill was denied a fight at UFC 207 because of the four-month testing requirement, even though it wasn't her choice to leave the testing pool. That has since been amended for fighters who didn't leave the UFC of their own volition.
I've had many say that USADA could easily waive the suspension. This is opinion, but a situation in which a drug test failure that was already given a prior exemption and suspension would be waived for a cash grab would likely open both USADA and UFC up to serious litigation from the likes of Chad Mendes, who is serving a two-year suspension for what he claims is psoriasis cream.
If everything is done by the book and Lesnar were to enter the testing pool today, he could be eligible to return in December. A situation like this has yet to occur with UFC and USADA, so there are other hurdles to clear.
Remember how I mentioned that Lesnar hasn't been tested this year? He was tested 8 times in 2016. It's not out of the realm of possibility that he informed the company of his "retirement" earlier and it wasn't announced until later. Fightful.com has reached out to UFC and USADA for a statement on that matter.
It's worth noting that UFC hasn't officially announced their rumored November 4 date for Madison Square Garden, either.
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