The use of marijuana in MMA has been a contentious topic, with many top UFC fighters openly admitting to smoking marijuana for recreational purposes.
The often harsh suspensions and penalties issued to marijuana-smoking UFC fighters have led to widespread calls for a reform in regulations, which leads to the question, are UFC fighters allowed to smoke weed?
Are UFC Fighters Allowed To Smoke Weed?
According to new rules, UFC fighters are allowed to smoke weed, but only for recreational purposes. In early 2021, the UFC announced that positive THC tests wouldn’t be viewed as a doping violation. However, for tests to be considered negative, THC levels should not be above 15 ng/mL (0.015mg/l).
This article will focus on marijuana use in the UFC, discussing some of the advantages and disadvantages of smoking weed for UFC fighters. We’ll also mention some of the fighters that smoke and advocate for the use of marijuana.
Until UFC’s decision to stop treating THC as a prohibited substance, there was great confusion as to whether fighters were allowed to smoke. The regulation permits UFC fighters to smoke marijuana provided the levels aren’t higher than the permitted levels (under 15 ng/mL).
Therefore, although the UFC doesn’t encourage fighters to smoke weed, the MMA promoting body won’t penalize fighters for returning tests with traces of THC. This means that, provided UFC fighters smoke weed during their recreational time, they won’t get penalized.
However, smoking high amounts of weed in the lead up to a fight or using the drug to affect performance isn’t permitted by the UFC and can lead to penalties, fines, and suspensions.
What Are the Benefits of Smoking Weed For UFC Fighters?
People smoke weed for a variety of reasons. The same applies to UFC fighters, who, as UFC chair Dana White asserts, smoke weed for personal reasons.
Although governing bodies don’t advocate for marijuana use prior, during, and after fights, more athletes are warming up to the idea of smoking weed for the advantages listed below.
UFC fighters benefit from smoking weed because it helps them relax and rest, relieves anxiety and stress, can aid in pain reduction, and can assist in recovery after injury.
Weed Helps To Relax
While not all UFC fighters smoke weed, a large number of fighters indulge in marijuana for recreational purposes outside their various fight schedules. Joe Rogan, a renowned UFC commentator, highlights that more UFC athletes smoke weed than those who don’t.
Smoking weed allows UFC fighters to relax and unwind. Most fighters claim to love the high that comes with smoking weed, especially during off-days and vacations.
Smoking Weed Helps to Alleviate Anxiety
For some fighters, smoking weed helps to reduce anxiety, which can be a huge plus, especially for fighters recovering after a fight or those preparing for a fight that’s still far away. In addition to its many medical uses, marijuana is also used to calm nerves, reduce anxiety and stress.
Popular UFC fighter Nick Dias admitted that smoking weed before and after a fight helps calm his nerves and allows him to focus more on the match than on the potential outcomes.
And although UFC doesn’t permit marijuana use before a match, several fighters have agreed that marijuana use is ideal when looking to calm nerves.
Smoking Weed Helps In Pain Reduction
Marijuana is a commonly used drug when it comes to pain management, which explains why many people opt to smoke weed when in pain. In the medical field, marijuana is often used to reduce pain for people with chronic illnesses like cancer.
The ability of weed to act as a pain reliever has made the drug popular for UFC fighters, especially when recovering after a fight.
Smoking Weed Helps In Recovery
Besides reducing pain, marijuana also helps UFC fighters to speed up their recovery. This is because marijuana induces sleep, which is vital in the recovery of muscles and inflammation reduction.
Some fighters prefer smoking during the day when relaxing, while others prefer hitting a blunt just before bed to help prolong the sleep.
Either way, smoking weed helps UFC fighters to improve their sleep patterns, which goes a long way in boosting overall recovery times.
What Are the Cons of Smoking Weed For UFC Fighters?
Although smoking weed has its advantages, the use of the drug also comes with its disadvantages.
The cons of smoking weed for UFC fighters include compromised judgment, addiction from ongoing or extended use, and a positive drug test result from smoking too much.
Marijuana Affects Judgement
Perhaps one of the greatest disadvantages of marijuana is its ability to impair judgment, which can prove fatal in a highly contested match. The UFC and other athletic commissions remain adamant that smoking weed immediately before a fight is prohibited and punishable through a variety of sanctions.
Marijuana Can Lead To Addiction
Although a proven pain reliever, marijuana can lead to addiction, especially when regularly used. Athletes who use marijuana to calm their nerves, reduce anxiety or induce sleep can easily get addicted to the drug, which can end up reducing their overall performance levels.
Moreover, increased usage of the drug more often than not enhances the chances of returning positive test results due to the high level of THC in the bloodstream.
The Risk Of Testing Positive
Athletes who smoke marijuana might end up smoking too much, therefore reducing their chances of returning negative test results. In addition, regular smokers usually find it hard to cleanse the body before being tested, which can lead to disqualification and various other sanctions if the test results come positive.
Which UFC Fighters Support Cannabis Use?
Below is a list of UFC fighters that support cannabis use.
- Nick Diaz
- Nate Diaz
- Jon Jones
- Mike Perry
- Ronda Rousey
- Donald Cerrone
- Jake Shields
- Brandon Vera
- Sean O’Malley
- Matt Riddle
Cannabis usage has increased not only for recreational purposes but also in the medical and sporting worlds. As a result, more UFC fighters are becoming open about their support for marijuana use, which has helped push for friendlier and more transparent regulations from the relevant bodies.
As can be observed throughout the article, marijuana is gradually becoming a mainstay in the UFC. Various athletes and influential figures are openly endorsing the responsible use of the drug, with big names like Ronda Rousey advocating for the removal of marijuana tests altogether.
Although marijuana comes with tons of recreational and medicinal benefits, the UFC retains its firm stance against the use of the drug just before fights. Smoking weed before a fight not only exposes the smoker to the risk of serious injuries, but it also takes away from the intensity of the bout!
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