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Monday, 05/20/2013, 12:55 pm

EXCLUSIVE | Thaigo Silva On Marijuana In MMA: ‘Some drink, I like to smoke’ | BJPENN.COM RADIO

UFC light heavyweight fighter, Thiago Silva, spoke with BJPenn.com Radio Wednesday night in the months leading up to his June 8 fight against Rafael Cavalcante.  While much of the talk centered around this fight, the conversation couldn’t help but turn toward some of the breaking news items in MMA; particularly the prevalence of marijuana in the sport.

News broke Tuesday that Pat Healy tested positive for marijuana following his UFC 159 Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night victory over Jim Miller.  The failed test cost Healy his two bonuses, $65,000 each for a total of $130,000.

Marijuana has been a hot topic in mixed martial arts in the last year, with a number of fighters facing suspensions for testing positive for traces of the drug.  Nick Diaz is perhaps the most high-profile fighter to test positive, but in the last half a year, we have seen Dave Herman, Matt Riddle, Robbie Peralta, and now Pat Healy all face professional consequences for using marijuana.

While some of these fighters apologized and took the fall for their actions, both Nick Diaz and Matt Riddle adamantly defended their use of marijuana for medical reasons.  Both fighters understand that marijuana is a banned substance under state athletic commission rules, but were unable to completely clear their systems of marijuana metabolites prior to the fight.  In either case, the debate on whether marijuana should be banned in MMA, and whether it can truly be labeled as a ‘Performance Enhancing Drug,’ have become heated given recent events.

For Thiago Silva’s sake, he does not smoke marijuana because of his fighting career, but he sympathizes with those who do.

“You know, it’s very complicated what to say about that,” said Silva.  “A lot of guys, they like to drink, you know; I don’t drink, I like to smoke.  I don’t smoke any more, because I really can’t [with my career], but I used to like a lot because it helps me to relax- it’s not like a drug like everybody say[s].  So actually, it’s legal in California, you know.  To be honest, I don’t think it’s fair, you know, because it doesn’t change your performance.”

Silva reiterates the sentiments of many who support the use of marijuana: it is legally prescribed in several states within the US, it is less destructive than substances like alcohol, and most importantly, it is inaccurate to label marijuana as a ‘Performance Enhancing Drug.’  Even still, Silva admits that he does not smoke marijuana now, so the fighter understands that, as long as state athletic commissions list it as a banned substance, it is something professional fighters will simply have to avoid putting into their system if they want to succeed in the cage.

Be sure to check out the other parts to this interview with Thiago Silva right here on BJPenn.com. You can listen to the entire episode of BJPenn.com Radio here or in the player below.


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