Hi everyone, I’m Christine Sclafani for TNMNEWS and I was so happy to hear about the rule change regarding marijuana use for athletes under the UFC’s anti-doping program. That’s right! In case you haven’t heard, as of Jan. 1, under the new rules, fighters will no longer be punished if they test positive for THC, which as you know, is the main psychoactive ingredient in weed, unless further evidence demonstrates the substance was taken for performance-enhancing purposes.
UFC Senior vice president of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitzky warns athletes to make sure they understand these updates to the UFC anti-doping program.
The new rules are only related to the United States Anti-Doping Agency, or (USADA) which means any state athletic commission could still punish fighters for using marijuana if they choose to. Novitzky has been at the forefront of seeking changes when it came to marijuana and the UFC’s anti-doping policy, as organizations such as the WADA (which stands for) World Anti-Doping Agency continue to explore possible updates to the banned substances list, as well as suggested threshold levels for certain drugs. Novitzky said in a statement, “THC is fat soluble, meaning that once ingested, it is stored in fatty tissues and organs in the body and can be released back into the circulation, and consequently carboxy-THC appears in the urine, and sometimes long after ingestion. It is therefore not an ideal marker in athletes to indicate in-competition impairment.”
Really the only thing they care about in MMA fighting from an anti-doping perspective is impairment. And by what the science shows, there’s so many variables with your urine or blood levels of THC that there’s really no scientific correlation between that number and impairment. They care about what an athlete consumed the day of a fight, not days or weeks before a fight.
Previously, the UFC had a threshold set at 180 nanograms per milliliter, and a positive drug test over that limit in-competition constituted a doping violation. Nevada State Athletic Commission still vigorously tests and punishes athletes who go over the threshold limit in competition when fighting in there.
They still have the 150 nanogram threshold and a number of UFC athletes have faced suspensions and fines over the past year following positive drug tests for marijuana such as Jamahal Hill, Nico Price, Marc Raimondi, Tim Elliott, and Luis Pena… remember sometimes these athletes take these fights on short notice… And of course if you remember Nate Diaz was famously busted in 2012 and became the poster boy for cannabis in the UFC. When asked if smoking wee has gotten in the way of his fighting a=career he said, “On the contrary…My fighting career has gotten in the way of me smoking marijuana!”
Cali is a little more laid back…. SHOCKING… the California State Athletic Commission just begun fining fighters $100 for positive marijuana tests with no other sanctions.
MY thoughts on all of this… I train with a lot of MMA fighters and a lot of fighter’s smoke weed, A LOT!!! More of them smoke weed than don’t…so what… A lot of people do! As long as fighters don’t get into the ring high, or get high the day of their fight, who cares?! And in my this stands for ANY ATHLETE. You could be a baller on the court or a baller on the field, it doesn’t matter because at the end of the day, there are more benefactors to marijuana than not…. I think Cannabis is ALWAYS a good idea! But you gotta follow the rules.
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