After deciding to come out of a retirement that lasted more than four years, Brock Lesnar will have approximately one month to prepare for Mark Hunt at UFC 200.
According to normal UFC Anti-Doping Policy standards, Lesnar would have been required to provide significantly more notice regarding his return. According to paragraph 5.7.1 of the policy, a fighter coming out of retirement may not compete “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.”
According to the UFC, Lesnar signed his UFC 200 bout agreement last Friday, just one day before the blockbuster announcement that occurred during the UFC 199 pay-per-view broadcast. However, there is a loophole in the policy that would allow the former heavyweight champion to fight despite not having provided that notice. Lesnar has not fought since UFC 141 on Dec. 30, 2011, when he suffered a technical knockout loss to Alistair Overeem.
“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,” the policy states.
The Las Vegas-based promotion released a statement on Tuesday confirming a decision to exercise that exemption:
“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 currently remains under contract with World Wrestling Entertainment and thus far has only been granted a one-off opportunity to fight at UFC 200 before he is expected to return to the wrestling ring for SummerSlam on Aug. 21. While it is unclear if he could have any future designs on fighting in the UFC after July 9, Lesnar will now be subject to in- and out-of-competition drug testing.
UFC 200 takes place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and is headlined by a light heavyweight championship rematch between Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones. Lesnar versus Hunt will serve as the evening’s co-main event.