Is testing for marijuana meaningless?

by Luke Thomas | source:

Nick Diaz failed in his obligations to himself and the Ultimate Fighting Championship. But the Nevada State Athletic Commission's use of urinalysis to determine impairment isn't providing any service to mixed martial arts, the fighters or the fans.

Let's establish two facts from the outset. First, Nick Diaz's use of marijuana to the extent it produced a positive drug test result is irresponsible. Second, the urinalysis test regarding marijuana consumption used by athletic commissions (ostensibly) designed to protect the health and safety of fighters does neither and is little more than kabuki theater.

The UFC has every right to be disappointed with Nick Diaz. They invested huge sums of money and other promotional resources to push him, his fight and build him as a pay-per-view attraction. As incoherent and insane as some of the rules may be (more on that in a minute), he accepted the handshake. That meant not only fighting Condit, it also included media promotion and some measure of clean living. For him to test positive on the urinalysis - which could've resulted in promotional disaster for the UFC had he actually defeated Condit at UFC 143 - is the height of unprofessionalism and represents a total failure as a partner to the UFC.

But it's also true, and perhaps more important, that the urinalysis test ( has confirmed Nevada uses urinalyses to test fighters for various banned substances, including marijuana) used by the Nevada State Athletic Commssion (NSAC) to gauge marijuana use does not perform the function it purports to do.

"[Marijuana] is banned because of the damage it does to the person taking it," said Keith Kizer, Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Officer to the L.A. Times. "It could make you lethargic, slow your reflexes, and those are dangerous things in a combat sport."

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tags: Nick Diaz (detail)  UFC 143   


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Recent Comments »

Iamacanuck18 site profile image  

2/10/12 7:58 PM by Iamacanuck18

Doesn't nick have a medical marijuana license? Weed is harmless, and has alot of benefits, especially for professional fighter that are always getting hurt and training. Marijuana is way safer to use than Muscle Relaxants, which is the alternative.

JerodR site profile image  

2/10/12 6:19 PM by JerodR

Agreed. NO fighter should ever fight drunk, stoned, or on any medications that could make them drowsy. However, finding out that they were a month ago should not matter in regards to a fight.

HexRei site profile image  

2/10/12 6:12 PM by HexRei

^^^At the very least, they could use a form of testing that more closely indicates whether the person is under the influence of the drug RIGHT NOW, like blood testing (which, rather than urine testing which looks for metabolites that are released for up to a month after quitting, tests for actual THC in the bloodstream which go away along with the drug's effects in a matter of hours or perhaps a day or two).Urine testing for marijuana makes little sense if your only concern is whether the fighter is high at the time of the test, and from Kizer's words, that is indeed their only concern.

JerodR site profile image  

2/10/12 6:08 PM by JerodR

This... Not to mention the reason for testing.Keith Kizer, Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Officer to the L.A. Times. "It could make you lethargic, slow your reflexes, and those are dangerous things in a combat sport."Yeah, Diaz seems pretty lethargic running those triathlons, and training 24/7. His reflexes seem pretty slow too..considering he is able to beat or hang with the best fighter in the world, I guess they must be REALLY SLOW.Now don't get me wrong. This is 100% Diaz own fault. He knew he would be tested, but he did it anyway. I don't see the reason for them doing the testing though.

HexRei site profile image  

2/10/12 5:54 PM by HexRei

Gee, I didn't realize the athletic commissions were in the business of enforcing vice law. I thought the point of their testing was to promote fighter safety and prevent gains in advantage due to peformance enhancing drugs.

MPA site profile image  

2/10/12 5:51 PM by MPA

Testing positive for dope is not meaningless, it is against THE LAW!

Joe_Drogan420 site profile image  

2/10/12 5:40 PM by Joe_Drogan420

Yes it is meaningless. And cannabis should be a legal alternative to more dangerous substances like alcohol and tobacco.There's no logical reason it should be illegal or a banned substance. Its persecution almost reminds me of the Harry Potter book burnings. They both make about as much sense.

ArthurKnoqOut site profile image  

2/10/12 5:11 PM by ArthurKnoqOut

Dr. Benjamin says what I've said himself

patrice site profile image  

2/10/12 4:40 PM by patrice

<blockquote>disbeliever - They are the rules of his employment, when his employment needs a license to fight. They are not ignoring state laws. They govern sports. They make the rules to play sports. The AC is not saying Nick can't light up in NV. They are saying if he wants to fight in NV, he cannot.</blockquote>everyone gets this bro.the problem everyone has is the rule is stupid."weed is banned because it may make you slow.and its dangerous to be slow in combat sport."similar to :"playing video games is banned because it may be addictive and you may do this instead of training.And it's dangerous not to train properly in combat sport."

HexRei site profile image  

2/10/12 2:01 PM by HexRei

You took it that direction... Chaplin even outright said in that first post of his that you replied to: "Yes Nick should have known better than to take medication" and makes it utterly and absolutely clear that he is arguing about the rules themselves, and the reasoning, necessity, and implementation of them.But yes, I it would be nice to keep it about the test since there a trillion threads vainly and pointlessly debating whether Nick should be punished.