A hot topic in many realms of society is the use and limits of use with regards to marijuana. Especially in the area of competitive athletics. Combat sports and their athletes bare no less heat on this topic.
Some may remember Pat Healy recently testing positive on his drug test after one of the greatest nights of his career at UFC 159. His rear-naked choke against Jim Miller earned him Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night with a cash reward of over $130k. Unfortunately for him he was required to give it all back after the drug test results came in.
If that doesn’t sound harsh enough, WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) announced their new policy for the marijuana threshold would go from 15 ng/mL to 150 ng/mL shortly after that fight. With UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner, confirming the UFC’s involvement in the new policy stating “When we self-regulate around the world, we are going to go the WADA standard of 150.” That’s easily ten times the previous limit that Pat Healy was subject to after testing positive. Would this have made a difference for him and saved him that $130k in prize money?
It’s obvious WADA’s new rules are trying to concentrate on those who are fighting under the influence rather than those who smoked days or weeks prior. The argument made here is that marijuana can act as a pain suppressant, among other things. You can see where this might lead to one fighter being able to with stand a few more blows, but it certainly wouldn’t make them any less susceptible to a crippling submission or TKO.
Whereas some fighters, and other athletes in general, are tired of marijuana being placed into the same category of PEDs as that of Testosterone and EPO, the legitimacy of marijuana being characterized as a performance enhancing drug is a topic for another day. Needless to say for athletes such as Pat Healy this change comes as little consolation “after” he was required to relinquish his prize money from the UFC 159 victory that made headlines.