The Nevada State Athletic Commission announced that starting Wednesday, it will no longer discipline UFC fighters for using marijuana.
While USADA took marijuana off of its list of banned substances a while ago, and while states like Florida also previously made the decision to unban pot, Nevada has still been one of the states that have been holding out. Because Nevada has been holding out on changing its marijuana rules, the state still tests athletes for it, and we have seen UFC fighters such as Misha Cirkunov and Gillian Robertson recently test positive for marijuana.
On Wednesday, the NAC decided that it will finally remove marijuana from its list of banned substances, meaning MMA fighters and boxers will no longer be disciplined for using it.
“According to the World Anti-Doping Agency, WADA considers marijuana to be a substance of abuse, not a performance-enhancing drug. I think our goal is to test for performance-enhancing drugs to ensure a level playing field. The fact that it is not a performance-enhancing drug, I do not believe we should test for it any longer,” Nevada Executive Director Bob Bennett said (h/t MMAjunkie.com).
It should be noted that while the fighters will no longer be punished for these marijuana infractions, fighters who were previously dinged for marijuana will still have to face their punishments. For example, both Cirkunkov and Robertson were fined several thousand dollars each and both fighters are both currently on suspension, with Cirkunov out until September on his six-month suspension and Robertson still out until August.
The commission also noted that fighters will continue to be tested for marijuana for the next six months, but they will not receive sanctions for a positive test. It’s also worth noting that if the commission believes a fighter is high or drunk when they show up for their fight, they can still sanction them for it. But as far as fighters like Nick Diaz losing years of their careers for marijuana metabolites, it appears that those days are long gone.
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