ABC committee issues new cannabis advisory

On Wednesday, August 19, 2020, bantamweight Trevin Jones got a call offering him a shot in the big show, vs. Timur Valiev, as the opening fight at UFC on ESPN 15 on August 22. Weigh-ins were on Friday. Jones cut 17 pounds in 36 hours to make the agreed-to catchweight of 140, missing it on the first try.

He faced the longest odds on the entire card. And in Round 1, the oddsmakers looked right – Jones withstood a hellacious beating. But in Round 2, “5 Star” bounced backed and stopped Valiev, winning a $50,000 performance bonus in the process.

It’s an heroic story.

Unfortunately, the Nevada Athletic Commission tested Jones for cannabis, and he failed; the bout outcome was changed to a No Contest, the fighter was suspended for ten weeks, and he fined $1,800, plus he is liable for a prosecution fee of $145.36, as a condition for re-licensing by the NAC.

No one knows the effects of dehydration of cannabis levels. Further, Cannabis is legal recreationally in Jones’ home of Guam, and in Nevada. Fighters are allowed to ingest cannabis. Fighters sometimes have to take short-notice fights. No one was trying to break the rules and fight high. There was no ill-intent, or ill result – the better man won, spectacularly. But he didn’t.

However, the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports has issued new guidelines that, if followed, will have the effect of pulling the sport into 2021 in regards to cannabis consumption.

The ABC Medical Advisory Committee recommends that State and Tribal Commissions adopt the following policy regarding athletes who test positive for THC over 150 ng/ml which is the approved WADA level.
• Athletes first positive THC test over 150 ng/ml- fine of one hundred dollars ($100).
• Athlete second positive THC test over 150 ng/ml- fine of one hundred dollars ($100) plus the cost of the test estimated at two hundred and ninety-five dollars ($295).
• Commissions should use their own discretion when issuing fines for repeat offenders, such as doubling/tripling the fine of one hundred dollars ($100) plus the cost of the test estimated at two hundred and ninety-five dollars ($295). If
able, Commissions could also require multiple offenders to enroll in drug addiction treatment or counseling.

The ABC Medical Advisory Committee does not recommend or support the overturning of an athlete’s win if the athlete test positive for THC over 150 ng/ml nor the suspension of an athlete that test positive for THC over 150 ng/ml. The Committee further states that THC is not a performance-enhancing drug it is a performance suppressor and athletes who test positive for THC should not be punished in the same manner as an athlete that tests positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

Dr. Paul Wallace
Dr. Don Muzzi
Dr. Nitin Sethi
Dr. Michael Schwartz
Dr. Wayne Lee

Brian Dunn, Nebraska Commission, ABC President
Andy Foster, Executive Officer California Commission

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