Brock Lesnar granted waiver from four-month drug testing requirement

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Ex-heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar fights Mark Hunt on July 9 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Getty Images)

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Ex-heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar fights Mark Hunt on July 9 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Getty Images)

The UFC Anti-Doping Policy requires fighters who are coming out of retirement, such as former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, to notify the promotion in writing four months in advance of an intended return to competition, and to make themselves available for random testing for four months.

Lesnar on Friday agreed to terms and signed his bout agreement to fight Mark Hunt at UFC 200 on July 9 in Las Vegas. He entered into the testing pool on Monday. He thus would not be able to fight, though the clause also covers situations such as Lesnar.

The reason is for fairness and when it is impossible to comply.

Paragraph 5.7.1 of the testing policy covers both the four-month requirement for athletes who come out of retirement as well as the ability to grant an exemption.

5.7.1 An Athlete who gives notice of retirement to UFC, or has otherwise ceased to have a contractual relationship with UFC, may not resume competing in UFC Bouts until he/she has given UFC written notice of his/her intent to resume competing and has made him/herself available for Testing for a period of four months before returning to competition. UFC may grant an exemption to the four-month written notice rule in exceptional circumstances or where the strict application of that rule would be manifestly unfair to an Athlete.

Lesnar has not fought in the UFC since Dec. 30, 2011, when he was beaten at UFC 141 by Alistair Overeem. It was several years before the promotion adopted the drug-testing policy.

When Lesnar began negotiating for his return at UFC 200, he was under contract with WWE and needed its permission to compete for the UFC.

The UFC released a statement to Yahoo Sports pointing to the publicly available policy.

"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.  

Lesnar has not said whether his UFC return is simply for the one fight with Hunt or for a longer period, but he will be subject to random testing and would continue to be unless he notifies the UFC in writing of an intention to retire again.

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