The use of marijuana in MMA is nothing new. Many fighters have openly acknowledged that they smoke occasionally. The Diaz brothers stand out among them because they have incorporated their smoking habit into their fighting technique and brand.
In a nutshell, yes, athletes are permitted to use marijuana outside of competition. However, by the time they are tested the week before their fight, the THC blood levels must be below 150 ng/mL. The UFC declared in January 2021 that a positive THC test will no longer be regarded as a doping offence.
Of course, each state’s athletic commission has its own set of regulations that are frequently more restrictive than the UFC in terms of marijuana use.
Let’s start by discussing the UFC’s position on marijuana use. Since July 1st, 2015, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has been in charge of the UFC’s drug testing. Since then, in addition to any testing already carried out by the state athletic commissions where the fight is being staged, USADA has tested every UFC fighter for the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Before 2021, USADA’s marijuana policy had been very liberal. Initially, marijuana use for recreational purposes outside of competition was permitted for fighters, provided that it had left their systems by the time of competition. This indicates that a fighter would pass their drug test as long as they gave up smoking a few weeks prior to their fight.
This solely applies to THC, the psychoactive substance in marijuana. Before 2018, when CBD was allowed both in and out of competition, THC and CBD were both against USADA rules.
CBD, also referred to as cannabidiol, is currently permitted under USADA regulations at any time, whether in or out of competition. Before this adjustment, fighters were not permitted to use CBD within a four-hour window before their fight.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) decided that CBD would no longer be regarded as a performance-enhancing drug and that it would be removed from its list of prohibited substances as a result of the Nate Diaz-related incident at UFC 202. Since USADA adheres to the same list of prohibited substances as WADA, a fighter may now use CBD at any time, including weigh-ins and fight night.
Nate Diaz introduced his own line of CBD goods under the name GameUp Nutrition after the introduction of what became known as the “Nate Diaz Rule,” which permitted CBD in competitive sports. Nate received praise from several combatants for his part in bringing about the rule modification.
Since USADA and the UFC teamed together, THC has been subject to stricter regulations. The USADA Official Website’s Marijuana page states that the threshold for THC in urine is 150 nanograms per millilitre (ng/mL). As a result, any sample that is collected that contains more than 150 ng/mL of THC will test positive and be regarded as a doping violation.
THC is regarded as a prohibited substance by WADA since there is information that suggests it may be used as a performance-enhancing drug and that a fighter may put oneself in risk while under the influence.
Several UFC competitors have tested positive for THC, and USADA has suspended them each time. However, as of January 2021, everything has changed. The UFC made a formal announcement on January 14th that they would be changing its policies on THC as a forbidden substance. Unless there is additional proof that an athlete used carboxy-THC knowingly for performance-enhancing objectives, carboxy-THC, the psychoactive component in cannabis, will no longer be regarded as a violation of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, according to the UFC website.
This effectively means that a fighter can now smoke marijuana before or after their battle without risking a USADA or UFC doping penalty. State athletic commissions, which function independently of the UFC and will no longer penalise or suspend athletes for using marijuana recreationally, can still fine or suspend athletes, says Jack, founder of Florida medical marijuana company.
The athletic commission will hold MMA competitors accountable if a negative finding is made on fight night even though they may smoke marijuana outside of competition. They must also follow the laws of the state where the battle is taking place. Several states have legalised medical marijuana, but recreational marijuana is still prohibited. Marijuana is also illegal at the federal level. For example, if a fight is being held in Miami, the fighter needs to ask the question ‘Is weed legal in Miami?’ By knowing the state level regulations, they can get weed delivered to Miami for some relaxation before an intense fight.
The regulations governing marijuana use in mixed martial arts competition are essentially broken down like that. Thus, to sum up this post:
In a nutshell, yes, MMA competitors are permitted to smoke marijuana outside of competition. On the day of the fight, however, combatants must have a THC urine level below 150 ng/mL according to the majority of state sports commissions. Both during and after competition, CBD usage is permitted. So, fighters can now get weed delivery in Miami or wherever they want without fear of career threatening suspensions.