Blazing Warrior: UFC contender Nick Diaz records third positive marijuana test
by Oscar Pascual |
The UFC received a double dose of embarrassment on Tuesday when they announced that recent title fighters Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz both failed drug tests — newly-crowned champion Silva for anabolic steroids and Diaz for marijuana.
The two faced each other to the final round in last week’s UFC 183 headline fight, with Silva winning by decision over Diaz, the pride of Stockton, CA.
While Silva tested positive for two different types of steroids in tests administered by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Diaz’s post-fight drug test tested positive for pot with an astounding 300 nanograms per milliliter, exactly twice the allowed limit of 150 ng/ML.
Banning steroids as a performance-enhancing drug makes sense, but banning marijuana seems antiquated now that 23 states have medical marijuana laws in place.
“The drug is banned because of the damage it does to the person taking it,” said Keith Kizer, NSAC executive officer, in an interview with the LA Times. “It could make you lethargic, slow your reflexes, and those are dangerous things in a combat sport.”
If that’s the case, then it’s actually pretty impressive that Diaz lasted all five rounds with arguably one of the best fighters to grace the octagon — and going the distance with such an obscene amount of lethargic, slowpoke THC in his system.
Much to the chagrin of the UFC and NSAC, smoking pot has always been part of Diaz’s training regiment, and won’t likely change any time soon. This positive test will likely lead to his third fine and suspension for marijuana, after already receiving punishments in 2007 and 2012.
“He doesn’t take pain medications,” said Diaz’s trainer Cesar Gracie in an interview with MMA Fighting. “When he’s in pain after a workout, he likes to smoke marijuana. It calms him down and relieves the pain in his body. It’s his way to naturally deal with pain and other problems.”
With nearly half of America currently implementing medical marijuana programs, it’s time that the UFC — and all sports leagues in general — begin to view marijuana not only as an acceptable substance, but also as a healthier alternative for pain relief.
Researchers say that marijuana has anti-inflammatory qualities that can help people deal with pain and swelling while decreasing anxiety and improving mood. The argument for pot as a therapeutic has become so strong that several former football players are imploring the NFL to reconsider marijuana.
While it looks as though the UFC and NSAC won’t change change their attitude towards pot any time soon, neither will Diaz.
“His DNA is THC, let’s face it. No one is surprised by that,” Gracie said. “The guy is such a brilliant fighter. I’d rather be talking about how skilled he is.”