Three weeks after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) raised the testing threshold for marijuana metabolites from 15 nanograms per milliliter to 150 ng/ml, the UFC announced that it would follow suit.
The new rule will go into effect for all UFC regulated international events, including events held in Brazil.
The announcement came during last Friday’s meeting of the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s Steroid and Drug Testing Advisory Panel, which took place in Las Vegas.
“When we self-regulate around the world, we are going to go the WADA standard of 150,” said UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner. “So we’re starting that immediately.”
There has been much outcry from the mixed martial arts (MMA) community over the organization’s – and state athletic commissions’ – severe stance on marijuana. The previous threshold of 15ng/ml resulted in Nick Diaz’s suspension and fine, Matt Riddle’s dismissal from UFC, Alex Caceres’ six-month suspension, and Pat Healy’s $130,000 loss in bonuses. The criticism has not been limited to the world of mixed martial arts, however. In March, MPP and boxing advocates publicly decried the $900,000 fine levied on Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. with a Las Vegas billboard and a petition to the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
The UFC’s evolving opinion of the drug is a positive step in protecting athletes who choose to use a safer substance than alcohol and it will enable regulators to focus their efforts on detecting competitors who take potentially dangerous performance-enhancing drugs. Now is the time for athletic commissions around the country to do the same.