After a grueling loss to Conor McGregor at UFC 202 on Saturday night in Las Vegas, MMA fighter Nate Diaz inhaled from a CBD (cannabinoid oil) vaporizer at the post-fight press conference. When asked about what he was smoking, Diaz said, “It’s CBD. It helps with the healing process and inflammation, stuff like that. So you want to get these for before and after the fights, training. It’ll make your life a better place.”
Diaz, who has never tested positive for a drug during his MMA career (his record as lightweight is 20-11), may face repercussions for his actions. USADA representative Ryan Madden said, “I can confirm that USADA is aware of the situation and is currently gathering information in order to determine the next appropriate steps.”
He’d already completed a post-competition drug screening before being seen using the vaporizer; the results of that test have yet to be announced. While the Nevada Athletic Commission considers post-fight to be the end of the in-competition window, UFC’s policy states that the in-competition window ends six hours after a fight. Diaz’s use was during this time frame.
According to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) , marijuana is banned from in-competition use because it could provide possible health risks to athletes and potentially contains performance-enhancing components. In-competition is considered to be six hours before and six hours after the athletic event. Athletes can face up to a one-year suspension for testing positive to a banned drug, such as CBD.
Cannabis is used by many professional athletes—such as MMA fighters, NFL players and Olympic athletes—as a more natural pain reliever and recovery tool. Research shows it’s less addictive than most opioid pain medications used to treat high-impact sport athletes. Medicinal cannabis can be used as an anti-inflammatory and provides relief for chronic pain. In addition, cannabis use can help reduce nausea, decrease muscle spasms and help an athlete relax post-workout.
Time will tell whether Diaz will be penalized for his actions or if the USADA will understand an athlete’s need for relief.
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