Yes, folks! It’s 2018 and fighters are still getting suspended for marijuana! The latest to go down are Anthony Hernandez and Jordan Williams, two prospects featured on this season of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. Both men won their respective fights, but only “Fluffy” Hernandez was given a UFC contract by White for his 40 second KO of Jordan Wright on June 19.
His entry to the UFC will now be delayed by a few months as both men have been given the same punishment from the Nevada State Athletic Commission: a $750 fine representing 15% of their purses, $145 in attorney fees, the overturning of their wins, and a six month suspension that will last until December 19th. As Contender Series fighters aren’t technically UFC fighters, USADA was not involved.
While it’s kind of ridiculous that we’re still seeing fighters having clear wins overturned due to marijuana, it’s also equally ridiculous that these two managed to pop positive given the new higher levels of THC allowed by commissions. Back in 2013, several major sanctioning bodies including the NSAC upped the legal limit of marijuana allowed in-competition from 50ng/mL to 150ng/mL. That’s the difference between having to stop smoking a week or two before your fight to a day or two before.
So double dumbass on these guys, right? Well ... there is some evidence to suggest NSAC urine testing isn’t always the most reliable. Look at the strange case of Nick Diaz following his fight with Anderson Silva. He gave three urine samples over fight night, passing two. But one of them (sent to a different lab than the others) returned with an astonishing 300ng/mL. You’d think that would lead the NSAC to err on the side of caution and trust the other results, but no ... that initially ended with Diaz receiving a 5 year suspension.
In this case, the NSAC had the option of suspending Hernandez and Williams for up to 2 years, but they settled on 6 months because both fighters admitted their guilt immediately. We have to wonder what would have happened to them if they dared to ask which lab their samples were sent to.