CONOR MCGREGOR won't be back in the octagon until April at the earliest after leaving the USADA drug testing pool.
Speculation over the Irishman's UFC future arose last month when it emerged he hadn't been drug tested this year.
And when asked if The Notorious would have to be in the testing pool for six months before returning, UFC president Dana White said: "Yeah [he'll have to be in it for six months.]
After being asked if McGregor, 34, 'can't return for six months', he added: "Yeah."
Fighters competing under the UFC banner are required to be enrolled in the United States Anti-Doping Agency's year-round random drug testing programme.
Those who retire and wish to fight again are required to be in the testing pool for a minimum of six months before they can compete.
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The UFC do, however, have the ability to grant an exemption to the six-month written notice rule in "exceptional circumstances or where the strict application of that rule would be manifestly unfair to the athlete."
The UFC could opt to do to waive the six-month enrollment requirement in order to have McGregor return to the octagon earlier than April.
But he'll have to provide two negative drug tests in order for the six-month testing period to be waived.
The UFC waived a then four-month testing pool requirement in 2016 in order for Brock Lesnar to return to the octagon at UFC 200.
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That decision, however, backfired as the former heavyweight champion failed his post-fight drug test – testing positive for anti-estrogen agents Clomiphene and Letrozole.
Former two-division champion McGregor hasn't set foot inside the octagon since suffering a horrific broken leg in his trilogy fight with Dustin Poirier last July.
The Dubliner was expected to return to action in the autumn but recently revealed his kicking is not quite 100 per cent.
When asked about McGregor's role in the upcoming Road House remake, manager Tim Simpson said: "Acting wasn't something I think Conor had at the very front of his mind, right now he's still a world-class athlete and his focus is being the best fighter in the world.
"But as the injury continues to heal and he continues to prepare for a comeback, the timing worked well.
"It's a great opportunity to do a big Hollywood blockbuster in meantime and he's going to kill it.
“He’s still on track for a big return next year, but this fits in perfectly in the meantime.
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"The leg is still healing, I think there's a little bit more to go on that but he's been training like a madman. Twice a day, every day.
"He's been training super hard, he's in amazing shape it's just the final adjustments to get that leg where it's supposed to be."
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