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Conor McGregor: USADA's UFC anti-doping policy is still a 'flawed system'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- Conor McGregor is in favor of a clean sport and is a fan overall of the UFC's new anti-doping policy under USADA. Still, the UFC interim featherweight champion thinks some changes need to be made.

McGregor called USADA's program "flawed" at a media lunch Wednesday, because the group that tested him in Dublin was the Irish Sports Council. If USADA hired an Irish company to test him, McGregor assumes that USADA had the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA) test Jose Aldo.

"UFC are taking great, great steps to clean the sport and it's phenomenal what they're doing," McGregor said. "Still, it's a flawed system. The Irish Sports Council were hired by USADA to test me. So that's Irish people coming to test me, the Irish Sports Council. If they're coming to test me, then the same people that are testing Jose are the Brazilian commission, the same people who are asking for selfies, who train in the gym, who will look the other way when the piss test gets thrown over the shoulder. It's still a flawed system, I feel. But the steps are there."

The "selfie" incident McGregor is referring to allegedly happened back in May. Drug Free Sport came to Aldo's gym, Nova Uniao, to test him for the Nevada Athletic Commission in advance of UFC 189. Aldo's trainers ended up calling police on the sample collector, who was told he had an incorrect visa.

The following day, a sample was taken from Aldo under the supervision of CABMMA. Chris Guinty, the Drug Free Sport COO, told NAC executive director Bob Bennett in a memo, obtained by ESPN, that the CABMMA doping control officer asked Aldo for an autograph and picture after the collection was taken.

McGregor, 27, believes that for the USADA process to be most effective, collections have to be done by an unbiased organization.

"I feel somebody from outside the nation would have to come," McGregor said. "I feel like you'd have to send an American from USADA or wherever USADA is based to go to that country and do it themselves. You can't hire in someone from over there."

McGregor's concerns might be somewhat unfounded in this case. USADA spokesperson Annie Skinner told MMA Fighting that CABMMA did not collect any samples of Aldo for USADA. Skinner said USADA uses the Brazilian Anti-Doping Agency (ABCD) for Brazilian fighters and USADA handles all results management thereafter. The ABCD follows the WADA International Standard for Testing and Investigations (ISTI), Skinner said, and USADA only works with organizations around the world that follow those same, consistent protocols.

"The collection protocols and procedures a UFC athlete experiences in Ireland are the sample protocols and procedures a UFC athlete experiences in Brazil, USA, Japan, China, Australia or any other location around the world," Skinner said.

Aldo has posted photos online recently of him completing drug tests. McGregor said he has done eight or nine tests leading up to UFC 194 on Dec. 12 and doesn't feel the need to put pictures of them on Instagram.

"The Notorious" said, like he has in the past, that drug use in that way is common in Brazil. Many Brazilians would dispute that claim, of course.

"Performance-enhancing drugs or steroids, you can walk into a chemist in Brazil and pick that up," McGregor said. "It's part of culture. And there's nothing wrong with it. That's just the way they are. That's the way life is over there.

"It's not looked down upon. It's just the way of life over there. So you can't hire in the Brazilian commission to come and do that and expect it to be done. ... I still think it's a flawed system. But I don't care. I got tested a million times."

McGregor was then asked if he was concerned at all that Aldo might be using something heading into the featherweight title unification about.

"Not concerned," McGregor said "Again, I don't care. You can't put them on the chin. And that's what I'm going for: the chin."

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