As of January 1, 2021, USADA and the UFC have made great changes to their anti-doping policy regarding marijuana. USADA will no longer penalize athletes who test positive for the drug.
UFC Senior Vice President of Athletic Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky expressed his enthusiasm for the changes, citing that this is a must change for the “pandemic era” and that, “its science-based”. This change will most likely result in mass changes across state athletic commissions as well.
With Marijuana out the Door, Do Original Decisions Return? The Argument for “Yes”
Matt Riddle, once an upcoming star within the UFC’s Welterweight division, was cut from the UFC in 2013 after testing positive for marijuana twice within one calendar year. Riddle, who was/is a licensed medical marijuana user within the state of Nevada, failed his test after his split decision victory over Che Mills, despite efforts to get the drug out of his system prior to his fight.
Without the overturned decisions on Riddle’s record, the Greco-Roman wrestler would have recorded an impressive five-fight win streak. Despite having been released for several years now, Riddle is still the 3rd ranked athlete in UFC history in takedown defense.
Having competed in The Ultimate Fighter and has showcased his skills on the main stage, there is no arguing that Riddle had potential. Unfortunately, his career projection took a sharp turn downward because of his overturned decisions. Riddle’s record, and the stain on his career that has been left behind because of it, could be reversed to highlight the ability of a young prospect considering an unfortunate set of circumstances.
The Argument for “No”
Alternatively, Riddle, and others like him, could have their records kept the way they are. After all, the rules were the rules, and if you can’t abide by them, then you can’t play the game.
What Do You Think?
Do you think the UFC is heading in the right direction with its changes in regulations regarding marijuana? How should the UFC treat athletes who have failed drug tests because of marijuana? Should decisions be reversed that have changed because of a positive marijuana test?