UFC Will No Longer Penalize Fighters for Smoking Marijuana in the Days and Weeks Before a Fight


Viktor Hertz / photo on flickr

The Ultimate Fighting Championship announced today that it will no longer disqualify or penalize fighters who have used marijuana in the days and weeks leading up to a bout–only fighters who smoke the day of a fight. It's going to (attempt to) distinguish between the two groups by raising "the testing threshold for marijuana metabolites from 50 ng/mL to 150 ng/mL." 

According to, UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner is behind the decision. Ratner's been arguing since March that the UFC and the Nevada State Athletic Commission need to get with the times: 

"Society is changing," Ratner said. "It's a different world now than when I was on the commission. States are legalizing marijuana, and it's becoming more and more of a problem with fighters testing positive (for marijuana) and the metabolites."

"Right now, I just cannot believe that a performance-enhancing drug and marijuana can be treated the same," Ratner said. "It just doesn't make sense to the world anymore, and it's something that I think has to be brought up."

The UFC will be able to enforce new regulations every place its hosts a fight, save Nevada, where the NSAC has the final say. Luckily, the commission may be coming around: 

Prior to Ratner's remarks, the NSAC Steroid and Drug Testing Advisory Panel spent 40 minutes discussing its position on marijuana use in the sport. While the committee has yet to develop an official recommendation for the NSAC to consider, preliminary talks seem to indicate the group intends to also suggest raising the commission's testing threshold to 150 ng/mL.

While any new NSAC rule will go into effect way too late to help boxer Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., who was fined $900,000 and suspended for nine months after testing positive for pot, it'll no doubt benefit future fighters. For more on the fight over what ng/ml level constitutes impairment, see Jacob Sullum's recent piece, "Too Stoned to Drive?"

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  1. Took late for Nick Diaz.

    1. Maybe he’ll unretire.

  2. The pernicious effects of the drug war, DARE dopiness and anti-drug hysteria are reflected in the drug testing regimes of sport. One of the pernicious effects is the spectacular misallocation of resources devoted to drug testing and beating drug tests.

    If I were commissioner of the National Socialist Football League or any other sports body, all drug testing would end the day I assumed office.

    1. There’s a pretty big difference between drug use for entertainment and drug use for enhancement. Although I personally don’t give a shit about “enhanced” athletes, I don’t see drug testing going away from sports in my lifetime.

      The UFC is saying this particular test is stupid.

    2. Of course you would. You’d like nothing more than to endorse your employees putting poison in their bodies. Whatever helps the bottom line and puts butts in the seats, amirite?

      Typical of a libertarian, it’s this kind of thinking that’s going bring us back to the days of toddlers working in coal mines.

      1. You don’t know the first fucking things about choice and responsible use, do you?

        1. Clearly you don’t know the dangers of drug abuse.

          Why don’t you go polish another monocle, eh?

          1. The dangers of marijuana “abuse” are pretty minor, to say the least.

          2. They are nothing compared to the dangers of unappreciated sarcasm.

        2. Uh, he’s joking. Lighten up, Francis.

          1. Rick rolled. sigh…

            1. Sure, there is a difference between a recreational drug and a drug which enhances performance.

              However, for purposes of sport, so what? If David Ortiz is taking HGH, so what?

              Don’t we want athletes to strive to be the best that they can be? Don’t we want to encourage ballplayers to do whatever they can to enhance their performance short of violating the NAP? Don’t we want our little johnnies and little suzies to be self actualized peeps who do not whine about what other folks are doing unless what other folks are doing is violating the NAP?

              1. A private sports league setting its own rules is not a violation of the NAP either.

              2. I have no problem with a sports league deciding its own rules as to what counts as cheating. The problem is how those rules are influenced by our drug laws, not the idea of leagues policing themselves.

                Argument about steroids and PEDs should be similar to arguments about the DH.

              3. However, for purposes of sport, so what? If David Ortiz is taking HGH, so what?

                The majority of fans believe it’s “cheating”. So testing ain’t goin’ anywhere. I think it’s easier to convince the general population that recreational drug use is NOYB vs. convincing sports fans that PEDs aren’t cheating.

                1. Yes, I agree that testing ain’t goin anywhere anytime soon.

                  However, upon what basis do you assert that the majority believe its “cheating”?

                  1. Still, more than two-thirds say Major League Baseball players who juiced should not be eligible for the Hall of Fame, even as a rapidly dwindling number see steroids as a problem in the sport.

                    It’s a mixed bag. Maybe we’ll feel very differently in 30 years when everyone takes HGH like a Vitamin C pill.

      2. which “poison” is this? Marijuana which HAS no ld50, and thus is about as much of a UNpoison as one could imagine?

        Actually, is this post sarcasm? I’m thinking it is, with the toddlers and coal mine comment

      3. Obvious sarcasm is obvious.

        1. Not obvious enough, apparently. Although you know what they say about good satire.

  3. But it’s a performance-degrading drug! At least that’s what my girlfriend keeps telling me.

    1. I’m pretty sure it’s not the weed that’s causing that problem.

    2. Weed makes you small and flaccid? Why hasn’t this been on a PSA?

  4. Ultimate fighting organization now officially smarter than…how many states? Ugh.

    1. 48, at least. Colorado knows better, our ridiculous drugged driving threshold is just a sop to the police unions.

  5. The UFC will be able to enforce new regulations every place its hosts a fight, save Nevada, where the NSAC has the final say. Luckily, the commission may be coming around

    Of course they are. How much revenue does the UFC generate for Nevada everytime they hold an event there? I’m going to guess “a shitload.”

  6. Since pot doesn’t enhance performance like say speed or cocaine would, why would any league test for it?

    Beyond that of course, since nearly all of MMA’s fans smoke dope, usually while watching the event, it does seem a bit odd that they ever tested for it in the first place.

    1. why would any league test for it?

      For the same reason anyone else does. Because they can.

      1. Sure, but to their detriment.

      2. The NBA doesnt test for pot. If they did, the whole league would be suspended.

    2. Beyond that of course, since nearly all of MMA’s fans smoke dope,

      Not even close. Just stupid, really.

      1. Lighten up Francis. When your fan base is made up of under 25 males, expect a few dope jokes.

    3. Pot is most definitely a performance enhancing drug in it’s ability to aid recovery by increasing one’s appetite and facilitating rest which allows one to train harder. Keep in mind that the primary reason that fighters utilize steroids is to aid recovery. That said, I would prefer athletes not be drug tested for anything.

      pride never die

  7. OT: The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the police can legally take your DNA when they arrest you in the same way they can take your fingerprints.

    Most surprising to me: Anthony Kennedy rules in favor of the state. Guess he’s not all THAT great a civil libertarian after all, huh?

    I want to hear no more rubbish ever again about how the Court is this great defender of our personal liberties, unlike all those slimy politicians.

    1. Scalia wrote the dissent. I can’t stand Scalia in a lot of ways. But the varied nature of his opinions shows that he at least thinks about these issues rather than just mindless voting for the government the way Kegan does.

      1. But in this case Kagan joined Scalia against the government.

        1. I stand corrected. Good for her.

          1. Scalia was the only man in dissent.

    2. The role of the court is to defend the politicians from uppity peasants. They throw us a bone once in a while, but for the most part their role is to defend legislation, not liberty.

      1. That is why a litigant who claims to be aggrieved by a particular statute or regulation must overcome the presumption that the law is constitutional.

        Of course, there is nothing in the constitution authorizing the judiciary to conceive of the presumption that a law is constitutional.

        1. There’s no Deference Clause?

          1. Funny, all courts are to defer to the legislature and to regulatory bodies and appellate courts are to defer to trial courts, but no such deference is to be accorded the ratifiers.

    3. The law before this ruling was perfectly ample. Once convicted, you could take a DNA sample.

      Now you can take it simply for being charged? That presumes guilt.

      Also, I’m not a forensic expert, but it seems to me DNA can much more easily be obtained without a person’s knowledge than a fingerprint.

      1. I’ve read stories of cops sending fake “You’re a Winner!” type letters to people in order to fool them into licking the return envelope, giving the cops a DNA sample.

    4. Scroll 6 articles down.

      reason beat you by hours and hours.


    “Conservatives” on immigration is always a pleasant little ugliness.

    1. Rubin is right in a technical sense. But it is a bit much to expect US workers to take see their wages decrease in return for what? Rubin’s wages won’t go down. But she will call anyone whose wages would go down a racist for objecting to amnesty.

  9. “Right now, I just cannot believe that a performance-enhancing drug and marijuana can be treated the same,” Ratner said. “It just doesn’t make sense to the world anymore, and it’s something that I think has to be brought up.”

    No more marijuana idiocy from the NSAC, which is notorious for its idiocy (maybe they’ll review they’re position on the downward elbow next). The UFC should take as hard a stand on these roid-monkeys (Sonnen, Belfort) who replace skill with juice.

    1. You should need a note from your wife to go on trt.

      1. Phael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort, Frank Mir and Dan Henderson all just happen to have congenital hypogonadism and have a medically approved TRT exemption?

        I call that bullshit.

        1. Call me when you turn 35.

          1. Seeing as how I don’t have Klinefelter’s and haven’t spent my 20s on the juice, I anticipate 35 will be kinder to me than Phael Sonnen.

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