The UFC has decided to change the way in which they test fighters for marijuana. Starting immediately, international fights where the UFC acts as a commission, the detection levels for marijuana will be at a higher threshold, meaning that a fighter will have to consume higher amounts of the drug to come up positive.
Marijuana within UFC has long been a heated issue as multiple fighters test positive frequently, and the punishment for marijuana had been the same as harder drugs and performance enhancement drugs. Marc Ratner, the UFC vice president of regulatory affairs, encouraged the NSAC to change their levels. For fights within America, currently state commissions decide their own drug levels for fights, a matter of which UFC has no control over. Nevada, however, is one of the leading states in regulating MMA, and many believe that if Nevada changes its threshold, many states will follow.
Due to stress and the damage that can be caused to a fighter’s body during a match, many athletes within UFC have medical marijuana licenses and use marijuana where the state allow it. Users, even with medical marijuana licenses are punished through suspensions, fines, and even being kicked out of the UFC if they test positive for the drug. Research has found that consuming marijuana before a fight has no positive impact on an individual’s ability to perform at a higher standard than they would otherwise.
Recently, Pat Healy lost $130,000 in bonuses to a positive test after UFC 159 with Matt Riddle and Alex Caceres also making headlines for their failed drug tests before fights. Drug detoxes may be the only successful way for athletes to continue using marijuana before a UFC fight and not failing a drug test here in America.