UFC looking into psychedelics for brain health therapy: ‘We want to do it the right way’

UFC
PhotoCred: Las Vegas Review-Journal

After continuous studies reveal more information, the UFC keeps on looking at ways to improve fighter health.

In most sports that involve contact with the head, it’s unfortunately common to see brain health deteriorate or be impacted over time. Recently it was revealed via MMA Fighting of the severity of former UFC lightweight, Spencer Fisher, and his recent struggles. Therefore prompting UFC President Dana White to reveal to MMA Junkie that his promotion has begun working with top psychedelic research center, Johns Hopkins University, regarding the possible benefits of psychedelics.

Despite the news of Fisher’s trauma, the UFC has been interested in the studies conducted around and usage of psychedelics for quite some time now. In multiple cases, they’ve gathered fighters’ thoughts and continue to listen. Perhaps most notably aiding in the battle is former UFC flyweight Ian McCall who keeps in contact with UFC VP of Athlete Health and Performance, Jeff Novitzky.

However, it wasn’t until HBO released their feature on Real Sports (which also featured McCall) on the same subject that White pushed Novitzky in the direction of Johns Hopkins University according to ESPN.

“I do a performance study. I’m a performance coach,” McCall told MyMMANews.com in April 2020. “So my microdosing protocol I have is obviously different for each client I have. I don’t just do athletes, I do motivational speaking, I do a bunch of people. Men, women, doesn’t matter. They need my help. That’s my job. I have to and I love it.

“When you look at microdosing with sports or with performance, you have the uptick in efficiency of everything you do, [which] is insane. You’re so much more efficient. It won’t make you physically stronger, mentally you’re more efficient and physically. So it won’t make you more strong like putting testosterone into your body more. Your body just moves with kinetic efficiency.

“Most people just think of it as flow state,” The UFC vet explained. “You have the dropping of the fear response so you’re not afraid to go for certain techniques that you’ve never done before and you also have that kinetic efficiency so you pull them off, you’re in a flow state so you see things coming at you better, you have visual acuity, mental acuity, linguistic acuity. My ex, she’s kind of blind and she’s like, ‘Every time I take it, I see better.’ Parts of your brain are turned on like that and it’s crazy.”

Currently, psychedelic drugs are illegal in 49 of the 50 United States — the one exception being Oregon which made the usage legal late last year.

Novitzky would note that he’s unaware of when the UFC could really start delving into the psychedelic department. As for White, he feels that brain injuries are just “a part of the gig”.

“We want to do it the right way,” Novitzky said to ESPN. “We want to get all the government approvals if we’re going to do something. We want to figure out how we’re going to recruit fighters. Unfortunately, it’s not something that happens overnight. But Dana has basically instructed me: ‘Hey I want this looked into. Bring me some potential avenues we can be involved.'”

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