UFC raises threshold for marijuana, NSAC panel may follow

Friday, May 31, 2013

Earlier this month UFC officials announced lightweight Pat Healy would lose $130,000 in performance bonuses after testing positive for marijuana metabolites. There is a general feeling in the sport that while the rules are the rules and must be enforced, stringent prohibitions on marijuana are not in keeping with sweeping changes in the way sociey views marijuana use.

“Society is changing, it’s a different world now,” said UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner on March. “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 presented by the The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which recently upped the standards for a positive test, to prevent fighters from competing while high, but not penalizing those fighters that choose to engage in marijuana on a recreation, or prescription basis. Under the new standard, the marijuana testing threshold will be raised from 50 ng/mL to 150 ng/mL.

Now, the UFC has raised the testing threshold for marijuana, and a Nevada State Athletic Commission panel considers similar move.

MMAJunkie’s John Morgan has the story.

UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner revealed the company’s decision during today’s meeting of the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s Steroid and Drug Testing Advisory Panel, which took place in Las Vegas.

“When we self-regulate around the world, we are going to go the WADA standard of 150,” Ratner said. “So we’re starting that immediately.”

The UFC often acts as its own regulating body when competing in foreign territories lacking an official sanctioning organization.

Ratner told MMAjunkie.com the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission – or Comissao Atletica Brasileira de MMA (CABMMA) – which regulates UFC events in Brazil, has also agreed to the same standard and will make the change at next week’s UFC on FUEL TV 10 event in Fortaleza.

The goal of the change is to make a more concerted effort to catch marijuana users who are competing under the influence of marijuana rather than those who have taken the drug in the days or even weeks before a fight and are left with the metabolite in their system.

The NSAC’s Steroid and Drug Testing Advisory Panel also discussed potential suggestions for revisions to the commission’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, including testosterone and steroids.

Among the changes being considered are:
•Lowering the acceptable level of an athlete’s testosterone-to-epitestosterone levels from 6-to-1 to 4-to-1:
•The addition of testing for human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG):
•Recommendations to require a hematologic passport (or hematocrit); and,
•The requirement for out-of-competition tests to include both urine and blood samples.

Read entire article…