Ultimate Fighting Ends Testing for Marijuana

UFC’s Nick Diaz lights up (image via MMA Fighting).

Nick Diaz can smoke his weed in peace. After the MMA fighter famously hit a CBD vape pen at a press conference after a bout in 2016, he became the sport's poster boy for pot.

Back then, the UFC still suspended fighters who tested positive for marijuana. 

As January 14, the organization reversed that policy, backdated to January 1. 

UFC senior VP of athletic health and performance Jeff Novitzky stated:

“It’s really science-based. Especially in the pandemic era, we’ve had all these issues with fighters and taking fights last minute and then ending up with positive in-competition marijuana results and we always follow up on these - ‘when did you use?’ It always was the case that the use was days if not weeks out from the fight. I’ve always been interested in this and pushing for some of these changes.

“We’re really excited about this but we have to temper this excitement a little bit because I don’t want the message to get out to our fighters that, hey it’s free rein now. Because they’re still dealing with athletic commissions."

State fighting commissions, like in Nevada where many UFC matches take place, still test for cannabinoids and can suspend licenses. However, the USADA (anti-doping agency) signed off on the UFC's cannabis exemption.

Diaz, who has a 21-12 lifetime record, last fought in 2019.


MLB, NFL, NBA All Soften Drug Policies

Since the World Anti-Doping Agency ended its ban on CBD in 2017, several other pro sports leagues and organizations have followed suit.

In December 2019, MLB announced it had reached an agreement with the Players Association to remove marijuana, THC and CBD from the league’s list of Drugs of Abuse. As of February 2020, according to MLB, “Marijuana-related conduct will be treated the same as alcohol-related conduct,” which includes mandatory evaluation, voluntary treatment and potential discipline depending on conduct.

In a new 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement hammered out between the NFL and the NFL Players Association in 2020, players can no longer be suspended for testing positive for THC. The threshold has been increased from 150 nanograms of THC from 35. Drug tests can only be given during the first two weeks of training camp.

Citing the "unusual circumstances of the pandemic," the NBA curtailed all drug testing for the current 2020-2021 season. However, marijuana is still banned by the league. 

The NHL tests for pot, but doesn't punish players with THC or CBD in their systems.

The Professional Golfers' Association continues to suspend its members, including Matt Every and Robert Garrigus, for marijuana use in 2019.


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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.