Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) recently placed Tim Elliott on temporary suspension after he failed an in-competition drug test for marijuana stemming from his fight at UFC on ESPN 9 on May 30, 2020, in Las Vegas, Nevada. While Elliott— as well as Jamahal Hill — have to wait and see how long their actual suspensions will last at a later date, the maximum sentence it carries is nine months. That’s a long time to be away from work and not get a paycheck. And that’s the reason Elliott hopes NSAC will take into consideration that he took the fight against Brandon Royval on short notice and has a clean track record.
“I have been fighting in UFC since 2012 and never has any issues with drugs, or anything else for that matter,” Elliott wrote on Twitter. “Not being able to work for nine months won’t be easy for my family. Hopefully, the NAC will give me a chance to defend myself, given my track record and the fact that I took the fight on short notice.”
Elliott recently inked a new deal with UFC and went on to defeat Ryan Benoit at UFC Fight Island 1 on July 15, 2020.
The case for not testing for marijuana has long been a hot topic in mixed martial arts (MMA) since it’s not technically a performance-enhancing drug (PED). That being said, since it was an in-competition test, NSAC and United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA) regulations state that cannabis is prohibited over a threshold of 150ng/ml, according to ESPN.
To Elliott’s defense of taking a short notice fight, he does have a legit gripe since he wasn’t scheduled to compete ahead of time, giving him the confidence to feel free to use marijuana for recreational purposes. Whether or not NSAC shows any type of leniency, remains to be seen.
However, Kelvin Gastelum’s nine-month suspension for his second marijuana offense was reduced to five months after he completed a drug treatment program. That said, Gastelum’s case was handled by USADA (not NSAC).