Both UFC lightweight Nate Diaz and his brother welterweight Nick are among the millions of Americans who enthusiastically use marijuana. Social attitudes towards its use are rapidly changing in the country, with a large number of state decriminalizing and even legalizing it.
However, just because marijuana use is now widely seen as a personal choice rather than an illegal act, a fighter cannot compete while high, just as he or she cannot compete while drunk.
The allowable limit set by most state athletic commissions used to be 50 ng/mL, which indicates recent use, but not that the athlete is high. Some ACs have moved the level to 150 ng/mL, bringing it in keeping with World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) standards.
At the UFC 202 post fight press conference, Nate Diaz announced that he was vaping CBD (cannibidiol oil).
“It’s CBD,” said Diaz, as transcribed by MMA Fighting. “It helps with the healing process and inflammation, stuff like that. So you want to get these for before and after the fights, training. It’ll make your life a better place.”
The UFC uses the independent U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for drug testing. The group tests for performance enhancing drugs year round, and for recreational drugs in competition only.
“I can confirm that USADA is aware of the situation and is currently gathering information in order to determine the next appropriate steps,” said USADA spokesperson toMarc Raimondi in a statement.
At the UFC 202 post fight press conference
Nate Diaz vape pen use after UFC 202 under investigation by USADA
By Marc Raimondi @marc_raimondi on Aug 22, 2016, 8:46p 301
TWEET SHARE PIN
Nate Diaz could be in some hot water with USADA.
Diaz might be facing a UFC anti-doping policy potential violation for vaping cannabis at the UFC post-fight press conference Saturday night in Las Vegas, MMA Fighting has learned. Diaz was vaping on the dais and, when asked, said it was CBD, or cannibidiol oil.
“It’s CBD,” Diaz said after his majority decision loss to Conor McGregor. “It helps with the healing process and inflammation, stuff like that. So you want to get these for before and after the fights, training. It’ll make your life a better place.”
Cannibidiol is one of 113 active cannabinoids in cannabis. Cannabinoids are banned in-competition by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code over a certain threshold and USADA uses WADA’s prohibited substance list. In competition is considered the six hours before and the six hours after a fight. Diaz’s appearance doing post-fight media was within that timeframe.
“I can confirm that USADA is aware of the situation and is currently gathering information in order to determine the next appropriate steps,” USADA spokesperson Ryan Madden told MMA Fighting in a statement.
Thus far, there are only questions.
•Is Cannibidiol prohibited?
CBD is one of the active cannabinoids in cannabis, accounting for up to 40% of the plant’s extract. However, clinical reports show a lack of psychoactivity, and non-interference with several psychomotor learning and psychological functions. Is short, CBD does not get you high.
Earlier this year Diego Brandao was suspended for nine months by USADA, for testing positive for marijuana metabolites in a fight-night drug test.
USADA can mete out anything from a public-warning sanction to a one-year suspension, depending upon circumstances.
•Was Diaz in competition?
The NAC follows WADA guidelines have a clear definition for “In-Competition” – the period commencing twelve hours before a Competition in which the Athlete is scheduled to participate through the end of such Competition and the Sample collection process related to such Competition.
USADA has a similar definition, but curiously the UFC anti-doping contract has a different definition: “In-Competition” means the period commencing six hours prior to the commencement of the scheduled weigh-in and ending six hours after the conclusion of the Bout.
•Was Diaz tested after Vaping?
The fighter was tested post fight and before vaping, but it is not know if he has been tested since.
•Was Diaz’s admission sufficient cause to indicated a failed test?
When Mirko CroCop was subjected to a surprise test, he immediately informed the UFC that he had taken a small amount of HGH. None was found in the test, but he was suspended anyway, and retired, and was released, and is back fighting overseas beyond the reach of regulators.
•Will the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) also be gathering information?
The NAC also has jurisdiction because the situation happened in relation to Diaz’s fight with McGregor at UFC 202 in Las Vegas.
The bottom line is that Diaz vaped something that does not get you high, after the fight was over. If he is subject to any punishment for that, it is the punishers who are doing something wrong, not Diaz.