The internet communities of both professional wrestling and mixed martial arts were buzzing yesterday, when it was reported that Brock Lesnar may be considering a comeback to the UFC before the end of 2017. After all, his one-year suspension recently finished and there’s nothing to stop him (well, except for that pesky WWE contract. But never seemed to matter before, either).
But hold on, everyone. There’s more complications to this story.
When Lesnar announced his retirement from MMA in February, he was removed from the USADA drug testing pool. At this point, his suspension was “frozen,” meaning that he technically still has a five-month suspension to serve once he re-enters the drug testing pool. Dave Meltzer (and others) reported that Lesnar has indeed re-entered the drug testing pool to finish off his suspension.
However, a report from John Morgan of MMAJunkie.com says the exact opposite. Morgan claims that UFC Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky has firmly stated that Lesnar has not re-entered the USADA drug testing pool, and has not inquired about doing so.
“(Lesnar) is not currently enrolled in the USADA testing pool, nor has there been any inquiry on his part to do so,” Novitzky said.
“If he ever re-entered the program, he’d have to serve [the duration of the suspension] before he’d be able to compete,” Novitzky added, according to MMAFighting.com.
Lesnar last fought in July 2016, at the landmark UFC 200 event, against Mark Hunt. Lesnar won a unanimous decision, but the outcome was later declared a No Contest when the former UFC heavyweight champion failed two separate drug tests.
The early speculation was that Lesnar might try to find himself a spot on the UFC 217 card, which takes place at Madison Square Garden on November 4th. However, with the remainder of his suspension still looming, plus a six-month mandatory drug testing period for returning fighters, it now seems next to impossible for Lesnar to get back into the octagon any time in 2017.