You've heard about fighters with chronic injuries, but how about just the chronic?
UFC color commentator Joe Rogan, an open smoker and supporter of marijuana, took to his podcast (h/t Bloody Elbow) recently to speak with Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a New York City-based non-profit organization working to end the War on Drugs. Rogan said not only is there drug use in the UFC, he thinks most fighters in the promotion are blazing outside of their fight schedules.
"That's also the weird thing about martial arts. A tremendous amount of UFC fighters smoke pot. I mean, a massive amount where it's a huge issue with them involving drug tests, you know, where they have to stop smoking weed for the last four weeks or so in order to pass drug tests. More UFC fighters smoke pot than don't smoke pot."
That isn't really news to UFC president Dana White, who in 2012 suggested the exact same thing. However, regardless of his personal feelings on the issue White has always maintained that marijuana is illegal and fighters should not be smoking it.
For Rogan's part, the 48-year-old says he started smoking pot when he was 30. And it's all thanks to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu wizard Eddie Bravo, who was a co-worker of Rogan during the early days of the UFC when he provided live scoring and post-fight interviews.
"Before I started smoking pot I thought it was for losers. I really did. I got lucky, I met my friend Eddie Bravo and he is this really creative musician and he explained to me that it helps him write music and create music. He was this interesting guy that I used to do Jiu-Jitsu with."
Smoking pot may not be a big deal for Rogan, but with new UFC drug testing policy independently administered by the USADA it could be a big problem for fighters. The out-of-competition testing program would include a minimum of 2,750 drug tests each year and dramatically increased punishments for positive tests.
Although the tests are meant to catch performance enhancing substances (such as the ones taken by Anderson Silva) the policy is also targeting what are considered "recreational drugs" like cocaine and marijuana.
Perhaps the best known UFC fighter to constantly get caught using marijuana is Nick Diaz, who is a three-time offender in his career. Other fighters who have been caught in recent years include Alex Cacares, Matt Riddle and Pat Healy. And although Jon Jones hasn't officially been caught using marijuana, those drugs were found at the scene of the hit and run incident in which he is alleged to have been involved.
Currently, first-time offenders for pot smoking can be suspended from competition for one year. That suspension doubles for a second offence and doubles again for a third time, making it a pretty good incentive to put down the bong for good.