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UFC raises marijuana testing limits for fighters, NSAC may follow suit

The UFC has upgraded its marijuana metabolites testing threshold from 50 ng/mL to 150 ng/mL for all internationally self-regulated events going forward.


Marijuana use and testing procedures in mixed martial arts (MMA) has been a hot-button topic in recent months, and now a slight adjustment to the system is on its way.

From this point on, at all Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) regulated events, the testing threshold for marijuana metabolites has been upgraded from 50 ng/mL to 150 ng/mL.

The new threshold was recently put into effect by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and with the precedent set, UFC officials decided to follow suit in their own regulation.

Marc Ratner, UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, confirmed the change to MMA Junkie on Friday (May 31, 2013), stating that the new testing threshold will begin with testing at the next event, UFC on FUEL TV 10, which goes down June 8, 2013 from Fortaleza, Brazil.

While the UFC would typically take care of their own regulatory duties in an international market such as Brazil, the country recently founded an athletic commission of its own. However, according to the MMA Junkie report, the Comissao Atletica Brasileira de MMA (CABMMA) has agreed to test for marijuana the same way as the UFC going forward.

As far as commissions within North America go, though, it's not as simple as jumping on board with the new limits put forth by WADA and the UFC.

That means when the UFC isn't running a self-regulated event, the marijuana metabolites threshold falls under whatever limit the jurisdiction they hold the event in deems necessary.

Each commission in the United States and Canada has their own rules and policies when it comes to marijuana and drug testing, and at this point the regulations for the drug are not consistent through every commission.

What the UFC hopes to do is first have the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), one of the most reputable commissions in the country, amend their rules and hopefully the rest will follow by the example set by such an esteemed regulatory body.

Ratner went before the NSAC Steroid and Drug Testing Advisory Panel in late April to recommend several rule and testing adjustments. His suggestions were taken into consideration but no formal changes have been made at this time.

With the UFC putting its foot ahead of everyone else on this topic, perhaps this is the first step towards marijuana being taken off the banned substance list entirely.

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