UFC fighter Sasha Palatnikov explains why he smokes weed: “It really helps me… because every day I’m getting punched and kicked by human beings”

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Via @sashapalatnikovmma

This Saturday night at UFC Vegas 23, welterweight prospect Sasha Palatnikov makes his highly-anticipated return to the Octagon. A veteran of UAE Warriors who packs a powerful punch, Palatnikov made his debut in the big show last year at UFC 255 when he picked up one of the biggest upset victories of 2020 when he finished Louis Cosce in the third round via TKO. This weekend, he returns to the Octagon when he takes on Impa Kasanagay on the UFC Vegas 23 undercard. It’s an excellent fight between two legitimate welterweight prospects and the winner will likely be in line for a bigger-name their next time out.

Ahead of his upcoming fight, Palatnikov sat down with the Fanatics Fantasy MMA App team. The 32-year-old Hong Kong native and current Vegas resident spoke for over an hour with the team about a wide variety of topics, but one topic that piqued the fighter’s interest, in particular, was when he was asked how he celebrates after his fights. The Vegas resident admitted right away that he doesn’t like drinking.

“Oh, I don’t drink. I don’t drink alcohol at all, really. I’ve never been a drinker, even when we were younger. I’ll be honest, I don’t like the taste. I would rather have chocolate milk or a soda. Like that’s just me, personally” Sasha Palatnikov admitted.

Instead, Palatnikov is a proud weed smoker. While once a drug outlawed, cannabis nowadays has become much more normalized. Like a number of other MMA fighters, including UFC veteran Elias Theodorou, the Diaz brothers, and most recently, UFC featherweight Kevin Croom, Palatnikov is a champion of smoking pot. During the interview, Palatnikov admitted that he enjoys smoking weed and also likes to take other natural drugs while revealing this is the first time he’s spoken so openly about the once-taboo subject.

“I’m a big weed smoker. I’ve been smoking for 12 years, but I’m very controlled with that. I don’t smoke a month out from my fight. I’m big on shrooms, I’m big on natural stuff, psychedelics. I’ve had a lot of positive experiences with that stuff. Microdosing, things like that. I would love to go on Joe Rogan. I mean this is the first time I’ve ever openly spoken about this stuff. A lot of people are even surprised I smoke weed,” Palatnikov said.

Palatnikov revealed that smoking weed is an everyday thing for him. For him, it’s medicine. He is taking advantage of the fact that he recently made the move to Las Vegas to train at Syndicate MMA and be closer to the UFC Performance Institute. That’s because cannabis is legal, so for Palatnikov, it’s just medicine, one that he needs for his job as an MMA fighter.

“I mean, yeah, it’s just standard. There is no difference. I just get myself to my regular level when I just enjoy what I’m doing. Whether it be watching TV or if I’m sore as fuck or I can’t sleep. That’s the beauty of being in Las Vegas, it’s legal. I go to the store and say, ‘Oh, I’m sore, I’m having trouble sleeping.’ This is my strain. Or I’m having problems eating or if I’m nauseous. For me, it’s medicine dude. I don’t take pharmaceuticals, I don’t take chemicals, I don’t put any of that in my body. I’m all about natural stuff, organic, just making sure we put the good stuff in our body. And especially as an athlete. I eat junk food bro, don’t act like I don’t. I eat pizza, I eat my McDonald’s, I eat candy, I do all of that stuff. I’m a normal dude. But when I know I need to be on point, I will be on point,” he said.

“The thing is, when I’m eating clean, I know the difference. I go sparring after eating a pizza the night before, or if I had roast chicken and vegetables, I’m going to feel different, it’s just a fact. I know my body very well and how it responds to things. So yeah, I mean I’ve just been so in my own world with my nutrition and my health and what works for me. Like I’ve done five-day fasts without food or water.”

In addition to smoking weed and doing the fasts, Palatnikov also talked about how he has done five-day fasts and that with more research, people could benefit from these methods. He said that he is happy that sports are starting to use marijuana and other drugs for beneficial reasons and scientific purposes, saying that he himself is a “proven factor of it.”

“I’ve done lots of things that most people would not think of doing but they’re very beneficial with just a little bit of research. I’ve had injuries heal just on stuff like that. There’s a lot of stuff that people don’t know about that they can find out a lot about. There are psychedelics that going to be the future of the sport for CTE, for brain health. There’s a lot of studies now that are showing that psilocybin in magic mushrooms has a very positive effect on healing brain tissue and reconnecting neurons in the brain. These are things that the UFC and the NFL are now currently studying. They’re soon going to release substances that were considered illegal. This is all stuff that is evolving in the future of combat sport,” Palantikov said.

“You’re going to see more CBD which we are seeing a lot of and a lot of these products that are infused. I’m telling you, the results are there, the science is there. I’m a proven factor of it.”

Ultimately, Palatnikov is a weed smoker through and through. He’s proud of it. He does it partly because of his job as a mixed martial artist. It’s a tough field that involves training, sparring, and fighting, which means taking damage on a daily basis. There are a lot of fighters like Palatnikov these days who swear by weed because they need it for their recovery and for their sanity. For Palatnikov, it’s a tool for longevity in his profession.

“Marijuana just helps me relax, recover, feel good, feel better, and then I can start my day and just smash it. Like I only usually smoke at night. I don’t smoke and try to function throughout my day unless I’m doing something more work-related. Physically, I don’t like to go and train stoned or anything like that,” he continued.

“But in the evenings, most of the time, I’m feeling pretty relaxed, eating good, and then ready to go to sleep and do it all over the next day. I’m not saying if I was a doctor or a surgeon I should be smoking. But for my sport, for my field, it really helps me to relax and take my mind away from it, because every day I’m getting punched and kicked by human beings, so it’s a weird job when you think about it, but it’s what I enjoy doing it. If I can find things that can help me survive in that job field for as long as possible I’ll continue to do it.”

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