Nevada Is Finally Talking About Allowing UFC Fighters to Use Weed
But more hoops must be hurdled through before Nick Diaz can blaze and brawl.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) is meeting this Friday (January 13, 2017), and marijuana is on the agenda. The commission, which enforces substance policy for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), will discuss removing weed from its list of banned substances.
Or, in the words of the NSAC official release: “the possible exclusion of cannabinoids from the list of Prohibited Substances and Methods pursuant to passage of Nevada Ballot Initiative Question 2 (2016).”
Apparently, the fact that Nevadans voted this past November to legalize adult-use marijuana was not lost upon the commission, which “regulates all contests and exhibitions of unarmed combat within the state of Nevada.”
Still, warriors of the octagon should not hold their breaths waiting for their right to light up and fight. The NSAC has a record of harsh penalties for pot use. The UFC’s former number-one welterweight contender, Nick Diaz, was suspended from fighting for five years and fined $165,000 after testing positive for weed in January 2015. These penalties were subsequently bartered down to an 18-month layoff and a fine of $100,000, after which Diaz emerged as the self-proclaimed new face of weed. That doesn't mean Las Vegas visitors should bet that the UFC’s sanctioning body has become fans of pot.
Even if the Nevada State Athletic Commission does swallow its distaste for an ameliorative and nonaddictive legal substance, MMA Fighting points out a few reasons why UFC fighters shouldn’t vacuum up a dab hit just yet:
Cannabis remains banned in competition by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) uses the WADA Code, so even if the NSAC makes marijuana legal, UFC fighters can still be sanctioned for use of the drug—in competition—by USADA, the UFC’s anti-doping partner. In competition according to WADA begins six hours before a fight and ends six hours after the fight.
What all that mass of acronyms means is that even if Nevada’s state agency were to give a thumbs-up to bake and brawl, the UFC is still beholden to a higher authority—and that authority doesn’t want anyone competing while high.