Andrea Lee is back on the sideline, as her on-again, off-again debut is now off altogether.
Legacy flyweight champion Andrea "KGB" Lee (8-2) agreed to fill in on less than two weeks' notice at UFC 216, but it was revealed that Lee, who tested positive for a banned diuretic in March 2016, must enter the USADA testing pool for six months before being eligible to compete in the Octagon.
"It was a crazy week. I didn't even get to enjoy my win," said Lee, who went 4-0 in Invicta FC and Legacy in 2017.
The chaos started in the minutes following her first Legacy title defense, a striking clinic against Jamie Thorton (4-4), capped by second-round submission via step-over kimura. The right person to impress, UFC matchmaker and former Legacy president Mick Maynard, was watching cageside.
"I was hanging out with my family, and Mick Maynard came up and jokingly asked if I wanted to fight Oct. 7," she said. "I was like, 'That's two weeks from now.' And he said, 'Yeah, I wouldn't do that do you.'
"Then it was a legit offer the next day," she continued. "I had already been in a fight camp, and I was ready. I didn't get injured in my fight or anything. I felt like I might as well go ahead and jump in with both feet."
"I had already accepted I wasn't going to be fighting," Lee said. "Then they called me back like a day and a half later, 'Hey, we got you an opponent.' And I'm like, 'Crap. OK. I'm fighting again. I'm getting in that zone.' ... I was ready."
News broke of a fight against fellow UFC debutant Kalindra Faria (18-5-1) shortly thereafter. Lee had all of one night and a morning of training to enjoy the congratulatory tweets and texts from friends before the final call that her debut would have to wait until spring.
"Lunchtime rolls around, and I find out I'm not fighting," Lee said. "I'm like, 'Oh my God,' I was just sending in my paperwork; I was sending in my walkout song. I'd already had my flight booked."
The rule that proved the insurmountable obstacle was added April 1 to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which reads: "A new or returning athlete who admits ... Use, Attempted Use or Possession of a substance or method that is classified as prohibited ... shall not be permitted to compete in UFC Bouts until he/she has made him/herself available for testing for a minimum period of six months."
The positive test for a banned diuretic during a weight cut more than 18 months prior meant a six-month testing period before entering the UFC.
Lee says she expects to debut in the promotion shortly after the testing window passes. Aside from workout motivation in the immediacy, the roller coaster last week was a net-positive. It added time to rest her body after four fights in fewer than nine months, and she knows that her first Octagon walk, albeit with an unknown date, is coming.
"My run wasn't as great today as it was the last couple days," Lee said. "I was on cloud nine -- all excited. Now I'm on my ass again.
"I'm a little depressed. It's just something I'll have to push through."