Alright so there has been a major revelation today that has brought into question the regulation of Mixed Martial Arts, at least in the State of Michigan.
It appears as if longtime UFC lightweight/featherweight Tyson Griffin failed a drug test for Marijuana way back at UFC 123, but it never made the light of day. He never got suspended, he never got fined, and in fact no one knew of the occurrence outside of Griffin and the Michigan commission until now.
But how did this get overlooked and why is it just now coming to light?
I bring to you segments of a report from bloodyelbow.com, which through their diligence caught the story and brought it to light.
In the wake of the news that the Association of Boxing Commission had sent a letter to all its member commissions telling them to no longer license fighters from the state of Michigan and to not recognize fights taking place in the state, Bloody Elbow Radio’s Matt Bishop e-mailed me and asked if anyone was aware that Tyson Griffin had tested positive for something following UFC 123. Matt had found the information out while looking at some meeting minutes on the commission’s webpage.
After searching up and down the internet, I could find no mention of Griffin having tested positive for anything, but the meeting minutes were quite clear (emphasis mine):
2. TYSON LEE GRIFFIN – Complaint No. 316174
The Commission reviewed the Stipulation and complaint. The respondent admits to violation of Sections MCL 338.3648(6) (a) and R 339.269(3). The Stipulation, in part, provides for the following:
a. At the next unarmed combat or boxing contest Respondent participates in as a contestant, within the State of Michigan, Respondent may be specifically selected for a post-contest urine screening to measure the presence of alcohol or drugs.
b. Respondent shall pay a fine in the amount of $250 within 60 days from the mailing date of the Final Order.
c. Failure to comply with the terms and conditions within 60 days from the mailing date of the Final Order shall result in a suspension of all licenses or registration renewals and denial of future applications for licensure until compliance is made.
d. Respondent license was summarily suspended for at least 100 days.
It was moved by Mr. Mueller and supported by Mr. Packer to accept the Stipulation. The motion passed unanimously.
With Griffin a recognizable UFC fighter whose bout at 123 was his twelfth on the sport’s biggest stage, it simply didn’t make sense for this to have been a non-story.
The test failure not only wasn’t reported by any news website, it didn’t appear to be publicly acknowledged by the UFC either.
A call to the Michigan Unarmed Combat Commission to determine why this information was never made public as well as to find out exactly what Griffin tested positive for. Carol Moultine of the commission informed me that the state followed their procedures exactly in this case and that if I wanted to know what Tyson tested positive for, I would have to file a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the file.
That’s exactly what I did and a week later I received the disciplinary action report for Griffin and found out that he had tested positive for Cannabinoids.
So I guess at the end of the day we are left with unanswered questions about how this clear rule violation ended up getting pushed under the rug. It appears no one has the answer for that and Griffin’s camp has refused to comment on the situation.
The troubling thing is that with the news that Nick Diaz failed for the same thing still fresh on everyone’s mind, how could another athlete get away with this and how many times has this happened? Diego Sanchez is another fighter who also failed for marijuana in the State of California, but somewhere the powers that be put the lid on the situation and the infraction was kept secret only until a savvy reporter leaked it out.
For a sport that is regarded as being “the most regulated” of all, this is a very poor case that we are left just to speculate on as to how it could happen.
Marijuana is not a performance enhancer, but it is still against the rules, it’s still punishable by fine and suspension, yet some athletes are getting away with it, even when caught.
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