At UFC 199: Rockhold vs. Bisping 2, the MMA community received shocking news from Ariel Helwani that Brock Lesnar, a former UFC Heavyweight Champion, would be making his return to UFC to fight Mark Hunt at UFC 200: Cormier vs. Jones 2. Putting aside the snafu between UFC and Helwani when he broke the news before UFC could, most people are excited to see “The Beast” step back into the Octagon. Lesnar versus Hunt is just the icing on the cake known as UFC 200, a pay-per-view in which the main card is already stacked with fights including Daniel Cormier defending the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship against Jon Jones, Miesha Tate defending the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship against Amanda Nunes, and José Aldo fighting Frankie Edgar for the UFC Interim Featherweight Championship.
However, there usually are certain conditions returning fighters in the UFC must meet, hoops they must jump through per se, before they actually fight. One such condition is that they must be subject to four months of drug testing. Apparently, this condition is being wavered for Brock Lesnar. Despite this, Lesnar is still subject to all other anti-doping rules.
According to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, specifically in paragraph 5.7.1., any fighter who has retired and wishes to return must submit a written notice of their intent to compete. They must also undergo four months of drug testing prior to competing, too. Yahoo! Sports reports that the clause was put into place to ensure a level playing field, in that fighters cannot retire just to juice up, then return to action at an advantage.
It can, however, be waived “in exceptional circumstances or where the strict application of that rule would be manifestly unfair” to a fighter. Apparently, UFC said in a statement that they are utilizing said waver.
“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.”
As mentioned earlier, Brock Lesnar is still subject to all other conditions stipulated by the UFC Anti-Doping Policy. According to Bleacher Report, Lesnar made himself available for USADA drug testing on June 6. It has only been two days, so testing can still be ongoing. With all the media hype though, it is most likely the USADA and UFC did not take their time with Lesnar’s tests. The backlash would be paramount if Brock Lesnar were to test positive after all the hype.
Let’s not forget that Brock Lesnar is still under contract with the WWE. Ergo, Lesnar is subject to the WWE Talent Wellness Program. It is the sports entertainment company’s version of UFC’s Anti-Doping Policy in which WWE Superstars are tested with comprehensive drug, alcohol, and cardiac screening programs. The program was initiated shortly after WWE Superstar Eddie Guerrero (pictured above) suddenly passed away from heart failure. It is hypothesized his years of recreational drug use along with doping, which includes HGH, were factors to his death. Because of the situation, the WWE Talent Wellness Program was initiated as a means to be progressive in the welfare of WWE Superstars so that such a tragedy never happens again.
UFC 200: Cormier vs. Jones 2 will take place on Saturday, July 9, 2016, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is only available to watch on pay-per-view for $50 in standard definition and $60 in high definition or at certain local venues (Hooters, Buffalo Wild Wings, etc.).
[AP Photo/Eric Jamison]