The UFC is in the process of making a big change to the Anti-Doping Policy, which would keep released fighters from being punished.
Brock Lesnar was infamously given a waiver to avoid the typical four-month testing window under the United States Anti-Doping Agency ahead of his UFC 200 fight with Mark Hunt. The reason being that Lesnar was never contracted to the UFC while USADA was around, and was treated as a "new fighter." The same applied for BJ Penn. However, Angela Hill and Ben Saunders were with the UFC in the USADA era, and later released. When the two were re-signed, the four month wait was in effect for them.
This forced Hill out of a planned December fight. The UFC is making changes to waive that four month period for fighters who have been cut from the company.
The idea behind the wait period is so that fighters won't remove themselves from the testing pool, use banned substances, then re-enter the pool to take fights.
The company released a statement, which you can see below.
On December 13, 2016, UFC strawweight Angela Hill was re-enrolled by USADA into the UFC Anti-Doping Policy Registered Testing Pool (RTP). Hill had previously been part of the RTP as a contracted athlete in 2015, before she was released at the discretion of UFC and subsequently removed from the program. UFC is granting Hill an exemption to the four-month RTP requirement, which will allow her to compete against Jessica Andrade on February 4, 2017, in Houston, Texas.
Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy section 5.7.1, in exceptional circumstances or where the strict application of that rule would be manifestly unfair to an athlete, UFC can grant a waiver to the four-month requirement. UFC determined that Hill met that criteria for the following reasons:
– Hill underwent a thorough education process on the UFC Anti-Doping Policy upon her first inclusion in the RTP in 2015.
– Upon her re-enrollment into the RTP on December 13, 2016, Hill received additional education and became immediately subject to no advance notice, out-of-competition testing by USADA, making her subject to such testing for more than 7 weeks before her competition. Since Hill has returned to the RTP, she has undergone unannounced testing by USADA,and will continue to be subject to such testing while she remains in the RTP.
– It was not at Hill’s discretion that she was removed from the RTP in 2015. The intent of the 4-month rule is to prevent athletes from unfairly manipulating their inclusion in the RTP.
– UFC and USADA are in the final stages of refining the UFC Anti-Doping Policy. Included in that refinement, will be a change to the 4-month rule, whereby only athletes who chose at their discretion to be removed from the RTP will be required to have an extended presence in the RTP before returning to competition.
It's worth noting that Brock Lesnar would go on to fail two drug tests in relation to his UFC 200 fight, and is being sued alongside Dana White and the UFC by Mark Hunt.