Former three-time UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen believes that Conor McGregor is on the straight and narrow when it comes to recent accusations of the Irishman partaking in performance-enhancing drugs during his time away from the Octagon.
The revelation that McGregor was no longer in the USADA testing pool caused many fans and fighters, particularly Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith, to point a finger at McGregor, accusing the former two-division champion of using PEDs to bulk up since breaking his leg in a trilogy bout with Dustin Poirier in July 2021.
McGregor immediately snapped back claiming that he would be ready to rejoin the USADA testing pool in February for an anticipated 2023 return. This did little to quell the idea that he was utilizing banned substances over the last 16 months.
Appearing on ‘The MMA Hour‘ with Ariel Helwani, Chael Sonnen shared his belief that Conor McGregor is clean and is simply having fun with fans by perpetuating the claims that he has been using banned substances.
“A guy doesn’t go out, do a crime, and then document the crime. Conor put the pictures out. He’s having fun with people. He’s clean.”
Chael Sonnen says he believes Conor McGregor left the USADA testing pool for "logistical reasons." #TheMMAHour
"If he was off doing ‘Road House’ and vacationing, and knew he wasn’t going to fight anyway… I think that he made the right decision.”
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) November 30, 2022
Chael Sonnen Believes Conor McGregor’s Withdrawal From USADA Makes Perfect Sense
When asked specifically about Anthony Smith’s outright accusation that McGregor is scamming the system and essentially being given a free pass to use performance-enhancing drugs, Sonnen denied that narrative, instead choosing to believe that the Irishman’s withdrawal from the USADA testing pool was a completely practical decision.
“I believe that Conor has chosen his words very carefully. I believe that he’s creating conversation. Every word that he said is to make you insinuate that he’s avoiding the pool for a scandalous reason. Just to give you an example, Conor spoke five days ago and he said, ‘I’ll be ready to enter the pool in February.’ What do you mean you’ll be ready? You mean you’ll be clean? He knew what he was doing. He wanted that put out there.
“I will tell you that I believe Conor left the pool, he’s never been clear on this, I think he left for logistical reasons. The whereabouts clause and violation of having to let someone know where you are 24/7, 365. If you’re not where you said you’re gonna be, it’s a mark and if you get three marks in a calendar year, it’s an instant fail that comes with a minimum punishment of two years.
“If he was off doing Road House and vacation and he knew he wasn’t going to fight anyway and just didn’t want to keep up on the organizational side of it, I think that he made the right decision. I think that Conor is having fun with people, making them think he’s on some kind of anabolic.”