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UFC’s Anti-Doping Rule Change Means Marijuana Is No Longer Banned

The UFC has essentially removed a ban on fighter’s using marijuana after a change to their anti-doping policy.

In essence, testing positive for marijuana will no longer be considered a violation unless it’s been used on the day of a fight or there is additional evidence that it was being used for performance-enhancing reasons.

The rule change also ensures that all other cannabinoids also fall under the same umbrella, which will no doubt come as a relief to some MMA fighters and should bring an end to needless suspensions for those who haven’t really done anything egregiously wrong.

“While we want to continue to prevent athletes from competing under the influence of marijuana, and we have learned that urinary levels of carboxy-THC are highly variable after out-of-competition use and have poor scientific correlation to in-competition impairment,” the UFC’s Senior Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky said in the UFC’s official statement on the matter. “THC is fat soluble, meaning that once ingested, it is stored in fatty tissues and organs in the body and can be released back into the circulation, and consequently carboxy-THC appears in the urine, sometimes long after ingestion. It is therefore not an ideal marker in athletes to indicate in-competition impairment.”

“The bottom line is that in regard to marijuana, we care about what an athlete consumed the day of a fight, not days or weeks before a fight, which has often been the case in our historic positive THC cases. UFC Athletes will still be subject to marijuana rules under various Athletic Commission regulations, but we hope this is a start to a broader discussion and changes on this issue with that group.”

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