In news which may not surprise you, a study has found that nearly half of all MMA fighters currently use cannabis.
The study conducted by The Athletic investigated the cannabis habits of 170 MMA fighters. In total, 45.9% of the fighters admitted to using cannabis for recreational and recovery purposes, while 4.7% of fighters have given the drug up. Around 76.5% of fighters also use CBD products – which to be fair, are quite trendy right now.
In response, UFC’s Senior VP of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky said:
I think that sounds pretty accurate. It’s probably the No. 1 topic of questions that I’m asked.
The number of MMA fighters who use cannabis is likely much higher than The Atlantic thinks. The study only asked participants about their cannabis habits and did not include any sort of drug test for verification. This means that it’s likely many participants simply lied to avoid backlash from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
““I think that sounds pretty accurate,” Jeff Novitzky, senior vice president of athlete health and performance in the UFC, told the Athletic. Novitzky went on to say that he fields more cannabis queries from fighters than questions on any other topic.” #PlantsNotShots https://t.co/8tFufMDbzy
— cannahorse (@CannaHorse) June 8, 2020
Although cannabis is legal in 13 American states, MMA fighters can still be penalised for using the drug. Middleweight contender Kelvin Gastelum was the most recent fighter suspended cannabis after he failed an in-competition drug test at UFC 224.
For the crime of cannabis, he was given a five-month timeout and trip to a drug treatment program. However, he got off lightly, as fellow fighter Nick Diaz was given a $165,000 fine and a five-year suspension back in 2015. Oh, how the times are changing.
While this study is certainly interesting, it’s not exactly scientific. If The Athletic wants to know how many MMA fighters smoke dope they should take it up with WADA.