Cannabidiol: the cure for what ails you, and now the possible cause for a Nate Diaz suspension.
Following the UFC fighter’s main event bout Saturday with Conor McGregor — the sport’s top superstar, whom Diaz has fought twice, with both fighters winning once and a third rubber match all but required — Diaz openly and repeatedly puffed from a CBD oil vape pen during the post-fight press conference.
“It helps with healing process, inflammation, and stuff like that,” Diaz said at the time. “So you want to get these for before and after the fight, make your life a better place. CBD… CBD oil, if you don’t know what that is.”
CBD, remember, is credited with speeding recovery from ailments like inflammation — and it’s also the non-psychoactive cannabinoid for which the U.S. government holds a patent — and judging by Diaz’s puffed-up, swollen and bruised face, he needed it.
He also needs to deal with the US Anti Doping Agency. The USADA handles UFC’s banned substances list. Cannabis is on that list, but it’s banned only while an athlete is in competition. So since Diaz’s fight was over, all was well, right?
Wrong. Apparently, “in competition” includes the six hours AFTER a fight, according to USADA officials who spoke to MMA Fighting and other outlets.
Cannabis is not a performance-enhancing substance, according to USADA, but it is on the list of banned substances. Diaz now risks a suspension of up to one year for using the CBD pen, according to the USADA, which is currently assessing its next steps.
CBD has been shown to have neuroprotectant qualities, and has been embraced by NFL players as well as MMA athletes as a way to stave off the terrible long-term effects of brain injuries.
Diaz hasn’t yet commented on the situation, and it’s not known if he passed a post-fight drug test.
Marijuana and Diaz are synonymous, with Nate Diaz’s older brother, Nick Diaz, also running afoul of UFC’s draconian stance on marijuana. Nick Diaz, recall, was slapped with what amounted to a lifetime ban — a five-year suspension, coming late in his career — following a positive test for cannabinoids after a January 2015 main event fight. (Nick Diaz’s opponent in that match, Anderson Silva, also tested positive for drugs — but for steroids, and faced much less severe punishment.) Nick Diaz’s suspension was eventually reduced to 18 months, meaning he can fight possibly as soon as next summer.
The rivalry between Nate Diaz and McGregor is now reportedly one of the most popular — and lucrative — in UFC history. The two fights between the pair are two of the three most-purchased pay-per-view fights in the promotion’s history, according to reports.
It would be insane and absurd to have a CBD pen negate a third fight between Diaz and McGregor (who also suffered a broken foot during the fight, which suggests he should start vaping CBD, too). But it would be consistent with the UFC’s policy.
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