USADA moves to stop punishing fighters for weed

USADA moves to stop punishing fighters for weed

It’s been a long journey from Nevada handing Nick Diaz a 5 year restriction from competitors in 2015 over a failed drug test for cannabis (his 3rd offense in MMA associated to the compound), to 2021 and the news that USADA is moving to stop punishing fighters for leisure drug use. The UFC’s drug testing partner put out a news release describing their modification in guidelines. A relocation that looks like though it’s planned to stop giving out fines and suspensions to fighters not simply for marijuana associated items, but for recreational substance abuse in basic.

An upgraded version of the firm’s Anti-Doping policy specifies that (h/t CombatSportsLaw.com):

Regardless of any other provision in this Short article 10, (i) when an infraction of Articles 2.1 or 2.2 includes a Substance of Abuse and (ii) the Professional athlete can develop by a prevalence of the proof that the violation did not enhance, and was not intended to improve, the Athlete’s performance in a Bout, then, supplied that the foregoing provisions (i) and (ii) are pleased, the otherwise appropriate period of Ineligibility may be lowered or gotten rid of, as figured out by USADA in its sole discretion based upon the Athlete’s participation in a rehabilitation program as offered below.

The UFC Prohibited List specifies “Compounds of Abuse” not just as cannabinoids– such as THC– however also narcotics including heroine, fentanyl, oxcodone and others. The list likewise consists of stimulants such as cocaine and euphoria.

Nevertheless, as is kept in mind in the paragraph above, and throughout the appropriate Anti-Doping Policy areas, USADA has actually not in fact eliminated penalties for recreational drug use. Rather produced a framework through which fighters might avoid punishment if they fail drug tests, especially through conclusion of rehab programs.

In an intriguing twist, fighters who do use THC throughout training may discover themselves better served to claim that use is totally leisure rather than in service of any kind of therapeutic or healing aid. USADA’s news release specifically states that things like “relieving pain” and “anxiety” would be thought about efficiency boosting usage.

Most significant to the new guideline changes, a UFC professional athlete who evaluates favorable for carboxy-THC (the main psychedelic element in cannabis) will deal with a violation by USADA only if evidence demonstrates the substance was considered performance-enhancing functions such as minimizing pain or anxiety; otherwise the professional athlete will not be qualified for sanction. A positive test for the forbidden compound, THC, will result in an atypical finding that will just be considered an offense if it satisfies the abovementioned condition.

Journalism release does go on to note that CBD items “have never ever been restricted under the UFC policy.” So fighters who utilize CBD supplements for discomfort and stress and anxiety management shouldn’t discover themselves suddenly contravening of these brand-new guideline changes. UFC Drug Czar Jeff Novitzky offered a more succinct statement on the brand-new policy and how it well affect UFC fighters moving forward (h/t MMA Junkie).

“Lots of use it for pain control, anti-anxiety, to sleep, in lieu of more dangerous, more addicting drugs, so hopefully this being the first step to opening that up so that an athlete on Wednesday night of battle week instead of going to a Vicodin because their knee harms and they can’t sleep can use a little bit of cannabis and get to sleep and have that pain control.

In Addition, speaking with ESPN, Novitzky kept in mind that for a professional athlete to run afoul of USADA regulations now, from marijuana usage, would “probably require visual signs if the athlete appears at an occasion stumbling, smelling like marijuana, eyes bloodshot, things like that,” adding that he has never ever seen a fighter in 6 years with the UFC who would have satisfied that requirements.

For those unusual fighters that do wind up facing the rehabilitation program side of things, how that will be managed stays to be seen. Former UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones especially checked out of rehabilitation, following a favorable drug test for cocaine, after only one day in the program. Welterweight Mike Perry was pushed into a rehab program for alcoholic abuse by the UFC, after video appeared of the fighter assaulting customers at a restaurant in Texas. Nevertheless, Perry was reserved once again just a few months later on. And a recent video posted by ‘Platinum’ while depending on a swimming pool of his own blood cast a fair little bit of doubt that he’s curbed his problems.

Following USADA’s lead, ESPN’s Marc Raimondi reports that the California State Athletic Commission will likewise be relieving their regulations around in-competition drug tests for Marijuana. While they won’t be getting rid of penalties totally, it appears the commission will now just set up a minor fine and will not look for to overturn bout results.

The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) has also de-emphasized marijuana as an infraction. Fighters who check positive in California face a $100 fine and no suspension. A success would not be reversed.

— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) January 14, 2021

Eventually, all of this is excellent news for fighters and combat fans. Ideally this latest policy modification from the world’s biggest MMA promotion will push commissions across the country to follow suit, and put the days of fighters losing wins and win perks due to marijuana far behind us.

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