UFC welterweight Matt Riddle recently picked up a win over John Maguire at UFC 154, but it seems that everyone still wants to talk about what negated his UFC 149 win - a positive test for marijuana metabolites. He served a three-month suspension for failing the test and was quickly given another fight, but Riddle is still doing to his best to defend himself against criticism. In an interview with Mike Bohn of MMA Mania, Riddle - who has a medical marijuana card in his home state of Nevada - once again went on the offensive against detractors. First, he explained the failure:
"I think it's really unfortunate they took a hard-earned win from me that I took on a week's notice and I did everything in my power to pass that drug test, I've never failed a drug test in my life until that day and that was never my intention. So it does suck, but at the same time I'll never forget that win. It was a great experience, a great feeling and I made $100,000 in one night, so you tell me who's the winner if that's a no contest."
He actually accepted the fight on June 30th, 22 days before the bout. And has stated in other interviews that he quit smoking 12 days out, but still failed. Anyway, we'll move on.
He stated later in the interview that he worked with the UFC and passed two tests in the leadup to UFC 154 so he wouldn't be pulled from the card. Being proactive with this sort of thing is very smart of him for sure, and I respect that. He went onto explain how weed calms him down, because apparently he has some anger issues:
"[Marijuana] makes me honestly, for a guy like me I've explained it to other people, I'm very high strung," he said. "You can ask anybody who hangs out with me, when I'm not on my medicine -- not that I'm hard to be around, but I'm very intense. You say something stupid I'll (expletive) let you know, I go off. You know, I'm very, it's almost like a New York minute, I'm very fast, I'm right to the point, I'm in your face. Like right now, ba-da-ba-ba, I'm talking very fast. I like to slow it down, I like to be normal, I like to be like a normal person and right now it's like I'm on edge."
"If I didn't just get out of the cage I'd want to beat the (expletive) out of somebody just for no reason. And that's just how I'm wired, and I don't like it. I like being the nice guy. So when I use, I'm a very nice guy and everybody around me loves me more. I'm just a much more pleasant person to be around."
In an MMA Junkie interview on the same subject, he stated that he has been prescribed many other drugs to try and help him over the years, but nothing else worked except for weed. He did smoke marijuana before he ever had a prescription for it, obviously, but that's generally the way it goes. If it works, it works:
"It helps me play video games and eat food," Riddle said. "That's what it helps me do."
Riddle did go on to explain that he hoped for a rule change that allowed marijuana to be seen in the same category as testosterone or other "drugs" that are legal to take with a doctor's prescription. A TUE for weed might not be likely anytime soon though, based on a short conversation he had with UFC's Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Marc Ratner. After asking about it, Ratner was rather blunt with his response:
"Do you really want to have this conversation?"
Instead, Ratner believes there is another way to handle the situation - rehab!
"Right now, I think in every state, it's illegal to fight with [marijuana] in your system," Ratner said. "If you did it three or four months ago that's one thing, but if you're smoking within the week of the fight that's going to show. And my feeling is there can be a suspension, but my feeling is there should also be a rehab system that's been talked about."
That seems hopelessly out of touch to me. Rehab? For something the guy is legally smoking at home? What year is this? How does that make an ounce (pun intended) of sense?
"I'm not going to get into the pluses or minuses or positives and negatives of it, but right now it's illegal."
Overall, it seems that the issue of marijuana in MMA isn't going to be resolved anytime soon. On one side you have guys that need it to be better at life and video games, and can get it legally. On the other side, you have a person in a position of power that actually believes rehab is the best answer in 2012. This isn't even apples and oranges, it's apples and forklifts. I wonder what Nick Diaz thinks of all this?