The Nevada State Athletic Commission last year reduced its potential suspensions for marijuana use to six months, while the California commission typically only fines fighters $100. Other states can be more stringent.
The UFC won't allow fighters to compete while under the influence of cannabinoids, but Novitzky said the promotion recognizes that MMA fighters often use marijuana for pain management or relaxation. Fighters advocating for legal competitive marijuana use have previously argued that a loosening of the UFC's anti-marijuana rules could lead to a reduction in the use of antidepressants or more addictive pain medications.
The UFC partnered with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in 2015 to produce a comprehensive anti-doping program in a notoriously fractious sport. Mixed martial arts once frequently showcased fighters semi-openly using steroids and testosterone replacement therapy, among other performance enhancements.
“The goal of the UFC anti-doping program is to protect the rights of clean athletes by deterring intentional cheaters and holding those who choose to dope accountable in a fair and effective way,” USADA CEO Travis Tygart said. “These amended rules are aimed at this, and to continue our focus on preventing intentional cheating and not to unnecessarily punish athletes for behavior that does not impact the fairness or safety of competition.”
Despite its prior ban, marijuana and CBD products have had a prominent role in many MMA fighters' training and financial backing. Many fighters have sponsorships from CBD businesses, while others have launched CBD-related business ventures.
Nick and Nate Diaz, two semi-retired but wildly popular fighters from Stockton, California, have built their outlaw image partly around their enthusiastic use of marijuana and CBD products. Nick Diaz, who hasn't fought in six years, tested positive for marijuana use after two of his last three fights.
The recreational use of marijuana is legal in 15 U.S. states, while all but two states have legalized some level of use for medical purposes.
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/sports