On April 27 UFC lightweight Pat Healy beat Jim Miller in a fight so tremendous that Healy was awarded a $65,000 "Fight of the Night" performance bonus and an additional $65,000 "Submission of the Night" award. Awards are held pending the results of State regulator mandated tests for Performance Enhancing and Recreational Drugs.
Healy came back positive for marijauna metabolites, due apparently to an ill-advised night out with friends some 30 days before the fight.
Healy forfeited $130,000, one of the most expensive joints in history.
The event may in time come to be looked upon as a turning point in the Regulation of marijuana in combat sports.
There is a general feeling that while the rules are the rules and must be enforced, stringent prohibitions on marijuana use are not in keeping with sweeping changes in the way society views use of the drug.
"Society is changing, it's a different world now," said UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner in March. Ratner is himself a former Executive Director of the NSAC. "States are legalizing marijuana and it's becoming more and more of a problem with fighters testing positive and the metabolites. Right now I just cannot believe that a performance enhancing drug and marijuana can be treated the same. It just doesn't make sense to the world anymore and it's something that has to be brought up."
One quick solution to the problem was offered by the The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which recently upped the standards for a positive test. The new requirement rightly prevents fighters from competing while high, but does not penalizing those fighters that choose to engage in marijuana on a recreation or prescription basis during the normal course of the life. Under the new standard, the marijuana testing threshold would be raised from 50 ng/mL to 150 ng/mL.
Now one of the most infliuential regulatory bodies in the world, the Nevada State Athletic Commisson (NSAC) has followed suit.
MiddleEasy has the story.
A couple of weeks ago I talked to Keith Kizer, the head of the NSAC, about marijuana and MMA. We went on for over a half hour, and at the end of the conversation my animosity towards him dissipated.
This morning I received an email from Keith Kizer letting me know that as of yesterday, the NSAC has officially raised the testing threshold of marijuana metabolites from 50 ng/mL to 150 ng/mL. That represents a 300% increase, which means you can have 3x more marijuana metabolites in your system before it's a positive test. something unprecedented in the the industry. Now that the threshold has been raised, fighters could literally smoke marijuana roughly up until a week before their fight -- although it's best to stay off the green, leafy stuff at least two weeks prior to a 150 ng/ML test just to err on the side of caution.
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