UnderGround Forums A simple fix for combat sports and cannabis

10/9/20 1:40 PM
8/31/13
Posts: 1590

One trend emerging during the COVID-19 pandemic is fighters taking short notice bouts and subsequently failing in-competition doping tests for cannabis.

Are these fighters competing while high? Probably not. Are they simply failing in competition tests based on legal out of competition use? This is a likely explanation.

It's important to remember that in many jurisdictions, and under WADA standards, cannabis is legal out of competition. It is only banned in competition. Commissions test for in-competition use based on metabolite thresholds in urine and if these exceed an arbitrary limit, in competition use is deemed. This practice is divorced from reality and often reveals nothing more than historic legal use as opposed to fight day impairment.

While a positive cannabis test does not bring the stigma it used to, athletes still face fines, suspension, wins overturned to No Contest, among other consequences.

Few believe cannabis is a true performance enhancing drug. It remains banned as a throwback from a war on drugs mentality against illegal ‘drugs of abuse’. However, as the drug enjoys increasing legality both medicinally and recreationally across North America, should regulators revisit its status as a banned substance? I would argue yes, and a template already exists with alcohol.

Regulators have a legitimate interest in athletes not competing while high. Alcohol gives us a good example. Alcohol is not a banned substance under WADA standards. However, if a fighter shows up drunk they would not be allowed to compete. This would not be an anti-doping violation rather it would simply be a commonsense safety measure. Cannabis should be treated the same way.

I propose a simple rule change – If an athlete shows signs of impairment pre bout when assessed by a Ringside Physician they cannot compete. If they are not impaired but simply fail a subsequent drug test for deemed in-competition cannabis use, that should be removed as an anti doping violation.

I posed this hypothetical rule on twitter. Of the 85 people who responded 99% agreed this is a sensible reform.

With both cannabis and alcohol being legal on the State/Province level in much of North America, regulators should revise their rules to treat the substances similarly when it comes to anti doping in combat sports. Impairment is prohibited. Other than that, these substances should be a non-issue.

via Combat Sports Law Blog

10/9/20 2:04 PM
3/15/10
Posts: 24920

I wholeheartedly agree.

But then the NSAC loses a revenue stream. Perhaps that is the hurdle that won’t be overcome in favour of common sense.

10/9/20 2:20 PM
11/9/18
Posts: 2468

A simple fix would be for fighters to stop smoking weed.

10/9/20 2:39 PM
11/8/09
Posts: 32982
MM8 -

A simple fix would be for fighters to stop smoking weed.

I agree. They are choosing the job they have. I’ve had jobs in the past where I couldn’t smoke weed because of drug tests so I didn’t smoke weed. 
 

i like to smoke weed so I found a job that doesn’t test. 

Edited: 10/9/20 2:45 PM
1/1/12
Posts: 1730

But why should they stop if it's not illegal out of competition? Rather the board should adapt to the now legal use of cannabis. Cannabis should be treated like alcohol, no more no less. They're both capable of impairing you but one is much more destructive to the body than the other.

10/9/20 2:57 PM
8/18/13
Posts: 10719
King Trav -
MM8 -

A simple fix would be for fighters to stop smoking weed.

I agree. They are choosing the job they have. I’ve had jobs in the past where I couldn’t smoke weed because of drug tests so I didn’t smoke weed. 
 

i like to smoke weed so I found a job that doesn’t test. 

Both of these posts are correct.

People always go on about cannabis being legal like that has anything whatsoever to do with it. Tons of banned substances on the USADA testing list are legal 

10/9/20 2:58 PM
12/22/10
Posts: 9618
OG 12er -

But why should they stop if it's not illegal out of competition? Rather the board should adapt to the now legal use of cannabis. Cannabis should be treated like alcohol, no more no less. They're both capable of impairing you but one is much more destructive to the body than the other.

You know what else is not illegal out of competition?  Steroids, IVs, diuretics, pain killers...

 

The rules should be modified though.

10/9/20 3:20 PM
8/31/13
Posts: 1591

Kirik, thanks for making this a featured article.

The bottom line is AC's test for 'in competition' use with a dragnet approach that catches athletes who are not in violation of the in competition prohibition.

If AC's are willing there really is a simple fix to this issue that addresses real safety concerns without punishing athletes unfairly.  Would be good to see one of the major AC's take the lead for reform here.  

10/9/20 3:43 PM
1/1/12
Posts: 1731
quality -
OG 12er -

But why should they stop if it's not illegal out of competition? Rather the board should adapt to the now legal use of cannabis. Cannabis should be treated like alcohol, no more no less. They're both capable of impairing you but one is much more destructive to the body than the other.

You know what else is not illegal out of competition?  Steroids, IVs, diuretics, pain killers...

 

The rules should be modified though.

And you're correct, but you can't do them during competition. Nothing is different really, it's the punishing of athletes from legal out of competition activities that needs to be fixed, regardless of the in competition rules. 

10/9/20 3:45 PM
6/26/06
Posts: 15184
What about out of competition cocaine and opiate use? They'd have an exemption as well using that logic.

Next time, get high after posting instead.
10/9/20 3:46 PM
1/1/01
Posts: 67154
MM8 - 

A simple fix would be for fighters to stop smoking weed.


Why should they? Their employer (the promotion) doesn't care. 

There is a government oversight body (the AC) entrusted with fighter health and safety. Recreational use of canabis has nothing to do with fighter health and safety.

10/9/20 3:55 PM
2/25/15
Posts: 1298
OG 12er -

But why should they stop if it's not illegal out of competition? Rather the board should adapt to the now legal use of cannabis. Cannabis should be treated like alcohol, no more no less. They're both capable of impairing you but one is much more destructive to the body than the other.

It’s not illegal to take steroid either, shall we let fighters take them out of competition?

10/9/20 4:01 PM
6/26/06
Posts: 15186
kingj03 - 
OG 12er -

But why should they stop if it's not illegal out of competition? Rather the board should adapt to the now legal use of cannabis. Cannabis should be treated like alcohol, no more no less. They're both capable of impairing you but one is much more destructive to the body than the other.

It’s not illegal to take steroid either, shall we let fighters take them out of competition?


I think the answer is yes, anything goes out of competition.
10/9/20 4:31 PM
3/17/15
Posts: 487

Clearly none of you have watched "Fortress". 

10/9/20 4:38 PM
9/5/12
Posts: 6094
OG 12er -

But why should they stop if it's not illegal out of competition? Rather the board should adapt to the now legal use of cannabis. Cannabis should be treated like alcohol, no more no less. They're both capable of impairing you but one is much more destructive to the body than the other.

It’s still illegal on a federal level. Technically, the federal government could fuck with dispensaries in legal states but they don’t.

 

But I agree.

10/9/20 4:48 PM
12/17/06
Posts: 89124
RenatoCocopreta - What about out of competition cocaine and opiate use? They'd have an exemption as well using that logic.

Next time, get high after posting instead.

Cocaine isn't legal. Opiate use without a script isn't legal.

10/9/20 4:58 PM
11/16/17
Posts: 9865

I love how nicks level were so high they thought he was high during the gomi fight haha. 

10/9/20 5:04 PM
11/8/09
Posts: 32984
Kirik -
MM8 - 

A simple fix would be for fighters to stop smoking weed.


Why should they? Their employer (the promotion) doesn't care. 

There is a government oversight body (the AC) entrusted with fighter health and safety. Recreational use of canabis has nothing to do with fighter health and safety.

They should because there’s a rule in place stating they can’t smoke weed. If that rule changed then whatever. Sacrifices are made all the time for work by people in all sorts of walks of life. 
 

I worked with dudes that would take the big money jobs knowing full well they drug test. They took the jobs because they wanted the big money.  Then they’d complain that it’s not fair they can’t smoke weed on their down time. They’d always use silly logic like yours but in the end they took the job knowing they’d be tested.  No different than fighters. 
 

It’s a dumb rule but it’s still a rule. When it changes great, but until then they should follow the rules they agreed to when they took the job. 

10/9/20 5:08 PM
8/31/13
Posts: 1592
King Trav -
Kirik -
MM8 - 

A simple fix would be for fighters to stop smoking weed.


Why should they? Their employer (the promotion) doesn't care. 

There is a government oversight body (the AC) entrusted with fighter health and safety. Recreational use of canabis has nothing to do with fighter health and safety.

They should because there’s a rule in place stating they can’t smoke weed. If that rule changed then whatever. Sacrifices are made all the time for work by people in all sorts of walks of life. 
 

I worked with dudes that would take the big money jobs knowing full well they drug test. They took the jobs because they wanted the big money.  Then they’d complain that it’s not fair they can’t smoke weed on their down time. They’d always use silly logic like yours but in the end they took the job knowing they’d be tested.  No different than fighters. 
 

It’s a dumb rule but it’s still a rule. When it changes great, but until then they should follow the rules they agreed to when they took the job. 

The rule does not say that.  It says they cannot use cannabis during the 24 hour in-competition window.  They then use a test that likely catches nothing more than out of competion (ie lawful use in compliance with the rules of the sport) use and they deem that to be a violation of the in-competiton ban.

Its a broken system.  It has an easy fix.  

10/9/20 5:14 PM
10/30/05
Posts: 6863

Your telling me these “Top Men” can rid this with a simple fix. Sounds familiar. 

10/9/20 5:21 PM
9/23/07
Posts: 82969
MM8 - 

A simple fix would be for fighters to stop smoking weed.


Shutup narc

10/9/20 5:40 PM
12/26/19
Posts: 1102

I don't like this idea at all. So there supposed to stop a fight from happening, minutes before it takes place, because someone may "show signs of impairment". Guaranteed sober fighters will end up getting pulled from fights and it will cause a shit show. 

 

Just follow the rules of your job and don't smoke. Don't like the rules? Find a different line of work.

Edited: 10/9/20 5:55 PM
8/31/13
Posts: 1593
KhabibWinsTheRematch -

I don't like this idea at all. So there supposed to stop a fight from happening, minutes before it takes place, because someone may "show signs of impairment". Guaranteed sober fighters will end up getting pulled from fights and it will cause a shit show. 

 

Just follow the rules of your job and don't smoke. Don't like the rules? Find a different line of work.

If a sober fighter shows signs of impairment on examination from the ringside physician they are getting pulled from the card in any event.   There is nothing contraversial about that.  

10/9/20 6:37 PM
1/1/12
Posts: 1732
ErikMagraken -
KhabibWinsTheRematch -

I don't like this idea at all. So there supposed to stop a fight from happening, minutes before it takes place, because someone may "show signs of impairment". Guaranteed sober fighters will end up getting pulled from fights and it will cause a shit show. 

 

Just follow the rules of your job and don't smoke. Don't like the rules? Find a different line of work.

If a sober fighter shows signs of impairment on examination from the ringside physician they are getting pulled from the card in any event.   There is nothing contraversial about that.  

Exactly this. 

You don't show up to a "regular" job inebriated so why should it be ok for a fighter? Day of (24hrs) fight is a no go. Any other time is ok. It's really not that hard a concept. 

10/9/20 6:51 PM
6/26/06
Posts: 15187
Altofsky - 
RenatoCocopreta - What about out of competition cocaine and opiate use? They'd have an exemption as well using that logic.

Next time, get high after posting instead.

Cocaine isn't legal. Opiate use without a script isn't legal.


Silly point. How about aderall and oxycodone?