Despite the UFC reforming its cannabis policy last year and reducing sanctions for positive tests, the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) has penalized and suspended multiple fighters this year for consuming the plant.
Last week, in a series of tweets, former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones confirmed a long-circulating rumour that it was a sample collector from the NSAC that caused him to hide under a cage to avoid a potentially positive test, and suspension, several years ago.
Jones confirmed the rumour during a Twitter exchange with UFC middleweight Israel Adesanya.
According to ESPN, Jones was training at the Jackson Wink MMA gym in Albuquerque when a sample collector arrived. In a tweet, Jones explains that hid because he had “just smoked a blunt and was afraid I would fail my test for weed.”
Adesanya tweeted that Jones “stayed under the cage to hide from USADA during a random drug test.” Jones responded that it was actually the NSAC. The oft-told story has floated around MMA circles ever since three-time UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen first discussed it on Joe Rogan’s podcast in 2016.
Last month, Jeff Novitzky, the UFC’s senior vice president of athlete health and performance, said that cannabis sanctions from athletic commissions could be pushing UFC athletes toward dangerous substances, like opioids.
“That’s where the issue continues to remain, the athletic commissions,” Novitzky said, who noted that UFC fighters most often use cannabis to treat pain and anxiety and enhance their sleep. “By sanctioning on marijuana, I really think we are pushing these athletes to drugs that are even more dangerous,” he said.
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