USADA Reveals Brock Lesnar’s Earliest Return Date

Photos by Stephen R. Sylvanie for USA TODAY Sports

Brock Lesnar has ended his retirement from MMA (again).

The hulking behemoth was confirmed to be fighting newly-crowned UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier after he made an in-cage appearance in the moments following “DC’s” shocking first-round knockout of Stipe Miocic in the main event of last Saturday’s UFC 226.

The news sparked off yet another set of questions about Lesnar’s ability to fight, however, as the WWE superstar still had at least some time left on the USADA suspension he received following his decision win over Mark Hunt at 2016’s UFC 200. The suspension would be long expired, but Lesnar ‘retired’ in December 2016 while it was still active, pulling him out of the USADA testing pool and onto its retired list.

Rumors swirled that Lesnar would return at November’s UFC 230 from Madison Square Garden in New York City, but based on news released today, that simply won’t be the date. A USADA spokesperson issued a statement to MMA Fighting confirming that Lesnar has indeed re-entered the USADA testing pool, yet did so only recently and will be eligible to fight again in early 2019:

“After receiving notice of his intent to compete in the UFC, USADA re-entered Brock Lesnar to the testing pool on July 3. With six months and four days remaining on his period of ineligibility, Lesnar will be able to compete on or after January 8, 2019, should he remain in compliance with the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.”

One of the UFC’s biggest-ever pay-per-view stars, Lesnar has also found himself in a hotbed of controversy involving performance-enhancing drugs. He was granted a conditional four-month waiver prior to his return in 2016 and then tested positive, overturning his win over Hunt to a no contest.

“The Super Samoan” sued the UFC, White, and Lesnar for multiple alleged charges involving racketeering, amongst others, in an ongoing suit. Lesnar’s overturned win over Hunt means that he has not officially won a UFC fight since July 2010, but the fact he will fight for the heavyweight title has sparked significant backlash amongst MMA fans in the two days following his over-the-top scene at UFC 226 where he shoved Cormier and called out Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou.

That’s the UFC these days, like it or not, and Lesnar has a monster fight with Cormier in his sights. Now, the hardest part of cashing in may be passing the drug tests.