Back in 2016, Nate Diaz lit the MMA world on fire at the UFC 202 post-fight conference when he told the world that he does vape cannabis with the media there to take in his every word. Now, vaping cannabis is not the same as that sold by smokingthings.com which is a vape juice retailer, but more of the CBD kind.
The USADA or the United States Anti Doping Agency hit Nate Diaz with a warning against doing this again, but for the popular MMA star, it was a documented and well-rehearsed act. Utilizing the media was a genius move on his part because he was able to advertise the usage essentially getting free publicity for the act. Diaz even said it himself; “It don’t matter, I banked out in the cannabis industry from it…It was a good move and it was organic.”
When he failed to beat Connor McGregor by majority decision, Diaz went to the post-fight conference with a lot of bruises and cut, most prominently on his face. A bunch of reporters did see that he was taking puffs off a vape pen and then he was asked about it. Diaz then admitted that he was vaping cannabis, a CBD which is cannabidiol oil. CBD can reduce pain and inflammation without the psychoactive effects of THC.
In the world of the USADA, CBD is still cannabis. And anything that contains cannabis is prohibited by the group who is the anti-doping partner of the UFC who hosted the event. In the competition window, which is up to 6 hours after the fight, you have to not have any of the banned substances in your body. However, the press conference where he vaped the product was only 2 hours after the bout with McGregor ended. After a thorough investigation, the USADA decided that they would not suspend Diaz and instead decided to give him a public warning to not do it again. This happened because according to Diaz, he thought that the post-fight drug test was over and the window for the in-competition was up. Since then, the rules have changed for the anti-doping policy. The in-competition window closes after the post-fight drug test sample. Assuming that you are clean for the drug test, you are free to do whatever is within the law in regards to drugs.
It makes sense that the rule has been changed in regard to the usage of substances after the fight. Especially in the case of CBDs which are supposed to help with reducing pain and inflammation. In a sport where you are punched in the face and body and bloodied and beaten, reducing the swelling on your face and the pain your body endures may keep you in the game longer. You can also start your recovery on the way to your next fight. And this is all because of Nate Diaz. He pushed the envelope of a rule that he thought was absurd and he made some good money in the process. A true trailblazer.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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