Why Conor McGregor may NOT be able to fight in the UFC this year
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There's a chance Conor McGregor will NOT be allowed to fight in the UFC this year amid rumours of a big fight against Michael Chandler.
The 34-year-old has not fought since his crushing TKO loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 back in July 2021.
He suffered a nasty ankle break, sidelining him for a period of time. But he's closing in on his return having recovered from his injury.
McGregor has already got back into the UFC mix by coaching opposite Chandler in The Ultimate Fighter 31, which is currently airing.
But in terms of competing against Chandler inside the famed Octagon, the 'Notorious' may be forced to sit out the rest of the year.
According to reports, McGregor has a small window left to enter the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) pool if he wants to fight at UFC 296, which is expected to be the final pay-per-view card of the year and scheduled for December 16 in Las Vegas.
If he doesn't enter the six-month testing pool by Friday, he will not be allowed to fight this year, per the rules of USADA.
UFC president Dana White admitted it's 'hard to reel these guys back in' when discussing a booking between McGregor and Chandler.
Asked if he was concerned about the fight potentially falling through, he replied: "You can’t think like that.
"That’s the business we’re in. Anything is possible in this business... Anything is possible, you don’t know. You guys don’t know this much [makes small motion with his fingers] of what goes on behind the scenes and how hard it is to put all these fights together.
"First of all, Conor called me a couple days ago and loved the first episode of The Ultimate Fighter, and saying how happy he was to be a part of it.
"And I think being here and part of the environment and everything else, he felt it again and felt like he wants to get back and fight. The one thing you guys have to understand is this kid has so much money. It’s like Khabib [Nurmagomedov] now. These guys got sh*tloads of money and it’s hard to reel these guys back in and get them fired up to get in and fight."
SPORTbible has reached out to McGregor's team for comment on his situation with USADA.