Cynthia Calvillo accepts 6 month suspension for cannabis

The USA is undergoing a major shift in how it views the use of cannabis. However, athletic commissions and USADA still consider the use of recreational drugs in competition; that is not unreasonable. If an athlete wants to use alcohol, or for that matter other drugs like cannabis, and even hard drugs, that is no business of the UFC. However, no one should fight high on anything.

UFC strawweight Cynthia Calvillo failed an in-competition test for cannabis at UFC 219 in Las Vegas. Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs have a cutoff of 50 ng/mL, a level that indicates use in the last 3-4 days for infrequent users, and perhaps 10 days for heavy users. World Anti-Doping Agency has a threshold of 150 ng/mL. USADA uses 180 ng/mL. Calvillo tested at over 180 ng/mL.


USADA announced today that UFC athlete Cynthia Calvillo, of Sacramento, Calif., has accepted a six-month sanction for her anti-doping policy violation.

Calvillo, 30, tested positive for Carboxy-THC, the pharmacologically-active metabolite of marijuana and/or hashish, above the decision limit of 180 ng/mL, stemming from an in-competition sample collected on December 30, 2017, at UFC 219 in Las Vegas, Nev. Marijuana and hashish are in the class of Cannabinoids and prohibited in-competition under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.

Cannabinoids are listed as Specified Substances on the WADA Prohibited List. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, the standard sanction for an anti-doping policy violation involving a Specified Substance is a one-year period of ineligibility, which may be reduced depending on the athlete’s degree of fault.

Calvillo accepted a six-month period of ineligibility, which began on December 30, 2017, and may be reduced to a three-month period of ineligibility, pending the satisfactory completion of a USADA-approved drug awareness and management program. Calvillo’s positive test also falls under the jurisdiction of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which may impose additional sanctions, including fines or a period of ineligibility that is longer than the period set forth above.

If Calvillo goes through the program and sees her suspension reduced to three months, that is reasonable, given that fighters only generally compete every four months. Hopefully, the Nevada Athletic Commission will see the good sense in a similarly light response to a light problem.