Cynthia Calvillo test flagged for marijuana metabolites

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Women’s strawweight Cynthia Calvillo was a perfect 6-0, three of them in the UFC, heading into her fight vs. Carla Esparza at UFC 219 on December 30, 2017. She lost a Unanimous Decision, and has had insult added to injury – an in competition anti-doping test was flagged for the demon weed marijuana.


The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) informed Cynthia Calvillo of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation involving Carboxy-Tetrahydrocannabinol (“Carboxy-THC”) which is a metabolite of marijuana and/or hashish, above the decision limit of 180 ng/mL, stemming from an in-competition sample collected in conjunction with her recent bout in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 30, 2017, UFC 219: Cyborg vs. Holm.

USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Calvillo, as it relates to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and future UFC participation. Because the Nevada Athletic Commission was the regulatory body overseeing the fight in Las Vegas and has licensing jurisdiction over Calvillo, USADA will work to ensure that the Nevada Athletic Commission has the necessary information to determine its proper judgment of Calvillo’s potential anti-doping violation. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.

USADA does not test for recreational drugs out of competition, but specified substances, such as marijuana, alcohol or cocaine, can result in a minimum one-year suspension for a first offense. The idea is that recreational drugs you do on your own time is your own business, but you shouldn’t fight high.

However, social attitudes towards marijuana use are rapidly changing in the USA, with a large number of states decriminalizing and legalizing it. The allowable limit set by most state athletic commissions used to be 50 ng/mL. Some ACs have moved the level to 150 ng/mL, bringing it in keeping with World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) standards. USADA uses 180 ng/mL.

But WADA added marijuana to the list of prohibited substances in 2003, after being pressured to do so by the USA.

“From a sports perspective, I was rather ambivalent [toward marijuana],” stated Richard Pound, an attorney who was WADA’s initial head and continues to serve on the Foundation Board. “As we morphed into WADA, the USA was very keen to have it included.”

That was in 2003, and the attitude in the USA has changed radically since, but the prohibition remains. It’s an anachronistic rule, and should be dropped. Mixed martial arts had a massive PED problem, and USADA has largely solved it. MMA doesn’t have a massive demon weed problem, and USADA shouldn’t be trying to solve it, based on politically-motivated rules from a different time.