NAC Approves Project to Evaluate Marijuana’s Potential Removal from Banned List

By Tristen Critchfield Jan 13, 2017
At a Friday hearing, the NAC unanimously approved a regulatory project led by executive director Bob Bennett that will examine cannabinoids as a banned substance. The project will include research and consultation with medical professionals, those in the fight industry and commission doctors. Commission chairman Anthony Marnell said that a special hearing in March or April will be held to decide whether or not to remove cannabinoids from the banned list upon reviewing a report compiled by Bennett.

According to the NAC’s current rule set, marijuana is banned in competition if a fighter is found to have more than 150ng/ml in his or her system. In competition is defined as six hours before and six hours after a scheduled fight. The NAC raised the limit in 2013 from 50ng/ml to 150 ng/ml to follow the World Anti-Doping Agency code.

Even if the ban is lifted, UFC fighters will still be subject to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s regulation, which bans marijuana out-of-competition.

The NAC has been notoriously harsh on marijuana offenders in the past. Recently, Nick Diaz was initially suspended five years and fined $165,000 after testing positive for marijuana following his bout with Anderson Silva at UFC 183 in Las Vegas. Diaz would later reach a settlement with the NAC reducing his suspension to 18 months and fine to $100,000.

The NAC also plans to consider adopting the newest version of the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, which were modified Association of Boxing Commission’s meeting last year. The rules notably include a change in the meaning of what constitutes a grounded fighter. MMAFighting.com has a comprehensive look at the proposed rule changes here.

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