Marijuana: The New Perfomance Enhancing Drug

December 28, 2012


Drug use is widespread in many sports.  Long gone are the days that using marijuana means you are a loser (Thank you Michael Phelps).  Drug testing is mandatory in all sports.  MMA fighting is being hit hard and when it comes to marijuana, many believe it shouldn't have the same penalty as "performance enhancing drugs".


Dana White said Thursday that if he were to implement year-round, random drug testing of his approximately 475 contracted fighters, more than 80 percent of them might wind up being suspended.

The drug he's concerned about, though, is not what you might think."Forget about PEDs," White said. "If we get into this system that we're talking about where we would randomly test these guys, do you know how many guys would probably test positive for marijuana? It would be probably off the charts.

"If you randomly test them and then [the results] came out, you'd get the exact same suspension [for using marijuana] as you do for using PEDs."

There is no formal prescribed penalty for fighters who fail their tests, though Nevada has been suspending fighters for six months on a first offense for marijuana usage and nine months for steroid use.

The length of the penalty for using marijuana disturbs White.  "I do not think the penalty should be the same for taking marijuana as it is for [using] performance-enhancing drugs," he said.

He's right on that point, though the the World Anti-Doping Agency's 2012 prohibited list covers that issue well. Marijuana usage is prohibited by WADA in-competition. It is not considered a violation for athletes following the WADA code if they test positive when they are not competing.

Do you consider marijuana to be a performance enhancing drug?  What penalties, if any, do you think MMA fighters should fae if they test positive for marijuana?