(Photo Courtesy of www.mmajunkie.com)
Ed “Pee Wee” Herman was scheduled to face Mike Russow at UFC 136, but was pulled from the fight after testing positive for Marijuana. Ed has denied using weed leading up to his fight, and thinks this positive drug test may be because of whom he hangs around with. Herman released a statement to MMAJunkie.com stating, “Marijuana is legal in California. Maybe it's just being in the same room. I don't know. I see people smoke every day.” Time will only tell if Herman was rightfully pulled from the fight or not. However, Marijuana has been a touchy subject in the MMA world, with some (including athletic commissions) believing it is a PED and is rightfully a banned substance. Others believe it is ridiculous to ban the use of Marijuana leading up to a fight, and that it cannot be construed as a PED at all.
One argument is that Marijuana can be used as a painkiller. So yes, if one were to smoke and enter a cage/ring (as some believe Nick Diaz did before his fight against Takanori Gomi), they might have the unfair advantage of not being as hurt. But more than a week away from a fight, using Marijuana would not give you any unfair advantage over an opponent.There are plenty of MMA personalities and fighters that are advocates for the use of Marijuana, such as Nick Diaz and Joe Rogan. So why exactly is it banned? Keith Kizer, Executive Director of the NSAC, says it is because, “it slows the reflexes, putting the fighter at much greater risk. We would not let a fighter compete who is coming off arm surgery and has not fully recovered his reflexes, or who is under the influence of alcohol because of the same issue. Additionally, it may also deaden some pain. That could hurt the fighter... he may not tap out when he should and he suffers broken bones or torn ligaments as a result... or that could unfairly help him if he can trade punches more easily with his opponent.”And why would fighters get tested for Marijuana a week before their fight? Most likely because if a fighter were to take a pre-fight drug test on the night of their fight, they may pass or fail, but results will not come back fast enough to stop them from entering the ring. Testing for use before the night of the fight would let the organization and athletic commission know that said fighter is in fact using a PED or Marijuana, and they can be pulled from the fight before they get a chance to use the illegal substance on the night of their fight.
So, should weed be an illegal substance in MMA? In my opinion, it should be illegal for a fighter to use it right before a fight, but what a fighter does during the months leading up to the fight should not be criticized unless PEDs such as steroids were being used.
Written by: Ajit Punj
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