Luke Thomas of MMAFighting.com and I recorded another installment of MMA Tete-A-Tete: Coarsening The Discourse yesterday before the official Nick Diaz news broke but we were able to address the rumors. Our main point is that the current testing regime for Marijuana is utterly pointless. The stated purpose of the commission is to prevent fighters from competing while high. Great. I hope we can all agree that's a worthy goal regardless of our stance on legalization.
More On Nick Diaz
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The problem is that the testing regime involves urinalysis which doesn't tell you anything about the intoxication of the fighter during the fight, only whether or not metabolites from previous pot use are in the fighter's system. Luke and I emphatically agree that anything but an ideal way to keep athletes safe.
As Luke said over at MMA Fighting: "the urinalysis test regarding marijuana consumption used by athletic commissions (ostensibly) designed to protect the health and safety of fighters does neither and is little more than kabuki theater."
We also discuss:
- Carlos Condit, Greg Jackson & Point fighting: pro and con, Luke defends the aberrant practice, I demonstrate why it's a pox on the sport.
- UFC biz: 143 buyrates high, UFC on Fuel estimates at 300K top side with a sideline to rave about the quality of the UFC on Fuel 1 card.
- What's going on with UFC Japan? Is Dana White being a fan boy or playing Japanese money marks? Will the event accomplish anything as far as rebuilding the sport in its historic #1 world-wide market?
- UFC on Fox 3: the problem of Diaz vs. Miller as main event
Transcript of the relevant portion are after the jump.
Note this part of the discussion is the last 11 minutes of the video clip.
Nate Wilcox: The rumor is that [Nick Diaz] failed his drug test because of marijuana and the thing is, he's done that before.
Luke Thomas: Right. He's done it before. Here's the thing, I don't whether that's the case. I frankly hope it's not. Fingers crossed, I'm hoping they can still make this Condit/Diaz rematch and put it on UFC on FOX 3 but I don't even want to talk about Nick Diaz's case although I guess we can get into it specifically. It's just a major pet peeve of mine if this is true or if it's somebody else. It doesn't matter if it's Nick Diaz or if it's somebody else although there's some culpability if it is Nick Diaz and the question is "if" not that it is true but if it is Nick Diaz, I'm of two minds, if it's true. If it's true, I believe that first of all, it'd be like the Chael Sonnen/Anderson Silva thing, the UFC would have lucked out if that's the case because if it's true that's what happened, and I guess we haven't heard from the athletic commission and that'll be the final word, yay or nay on whether this whole thing is even a reality or just a bunch of nonsense, but if the UFC is investing in you in that kind of promotional way and to not honor their commitment to you and for you to be willingly participating in this exercise and fail on those grounds, that's really the height of being unprofessional. There's really no two ways about it. You're a failure to your business partners when you do something like that. On the other hand, the law of testing marijuana...
Nate Wilcox: It's not a law, it's a regulation.
Luke Thomas: It's a regulation, sort of. Here's why it's tested. It's a dumb law that's so incredibly bad it makes no sense. Here is the reality. Marijuana, by the Controlled Substances Act, is a Scheduled I drug which basically means it has no medicinal value and the only way it can ever be used, recreationally or otherwise, well it can't be used recreationally, but the only way it can be used in special circumstances is for research by the government but it doesn't have any medical purpose and it's basically a threat to your biology and society at large and marijuana got put on that.
By contrast, for example, cocaine is a Scheduled II drug, meaning it does have some medical value. Noodle that one for a moment but the athletic commissions are required to test for Scheduled I and Scheduled II drugs, I don't know about Scheduled III, maybe, maybe not. The problem with the urinalysis for marijuana and this has been the case before and this is the case today, everyone in their right mind would say for any fighter, it's not okay if they compete high. It's just not okay, and I think you would agree with that.
Nate Wilcox: Or drunk, just not intoxicated, not under the influence. It's not safe, not safe at all.
Luke Thomas: It's totally dangerous. Here's the reality, a urinalysis does not tell you if a person competed under the euphoric effects of marijuana. It just tells you that they used and the reason why is, well, they tested your urine. It's testing the metabolite levels in your urine but urine is not coursing through your veins. Think of it this way, when they try to test you for your inebriation in alcohol, what do they do? They give you a blood alcohol test because it's coursing through your body at the time and your trying to determine to what extent the inebriation is, .08, whatever you think of that limit, that limit is defined as being impaired and you have cause with that but that's the basic standard.
Blood tests, it turns out, they can tell if you were inebriated at a certain time with marijuana because what's it testing for? THC. Depending on the use the smoker has, depending on their body fat concentration, depending on a number of external factors, they could have smoked up to 2-3 weeks before and still have high levels of metabolites in their urine so here's the problem with the law.
You're wasting taxpayer money, it doesn't keep fighters safe, it damages their career and it's basically making athletic commissions vice cops. There is no rational justification for testing fighters for urinalysis if your argument is, "We don't want them competing under the euphoric effects of THC." It's bullshit.
Nate Wilcox: It is bullshit and that's Keith Kizer's argument. He's the commissioner of the Nevada State Athletic Commission and his argument is, "The reason we test for marijuana is we don't want fighters fighting while they're impaired."
Luke Thomas: No one does.
Nate Wilcox: No one does. It's not safe, it's not healthy. When you have fighters come in loaded up on pain pills like Don Frye and Ken Shamrock allegedly were in their fight in Pride, that' show you end up with something like Don Frye getting both ankles shredded and not tapping out in the fight. That's just bad, bad, bad. That's bad mojo. That's how you get a death in the cage.
Drew Fickett notoriously has come into fights and tried to fight drunk, probably has gotten away with fighting drunk. I don't think a fighter should fight with any alcohol in their bloodstream. I don't even want a single glass of wine the same day as the fight. It's just a terrible idea. I don't want fighters fighting high.
I want to have blood tests to make sure the guy's not smoking the day of the event but if the guy smoked 2-3 weeks before the event or a week before the event, who gives a shit? That gives him no advantage or disadvantage in the fight. It's immaterial. And this is a substance that's been voted legal to use as medicine in what, eight states now? And if you know anybody in Colorado/California, it's like you go into the doctor and you're like, "Ah, I've got a cough," and they prescribe you marijuana. "I've got a headache, I think I saw something," it's not hard to get these medical marijuana prescriptions. Diaz has a medical marijuana prescription and he's been very vocal about, "I'm not gonna stop smoke. I'm just gonna clear myself out with herbal remedies." It's worked.
Diaz got drug tested at UFC 137 as a main event fighter and he passed so something went wrong here with Diaz's cleansing if that's the case and we don't know. We do not have any idea.
Luke Thomas: This is just rumor. All I'm pointing out is people are talking about it and if they're talking about it, I want to get out in front of it and say, if it's Nick Diaz or anybody else, the law in California and in New Jersey and in Nevada is bullshit.
Nate Wilcox: Yep, it's a stupid requirement and I've got problems with the whole drug-testing regimen. I'd like to see almost everything legal with blood tests and let's just know what these guys are on. Let them do whatever they want. I think intoxicants should still be banned. I don't want anybody fighting on alcohol or pain pills or pot while they're impaired during a fight but as far as performance enhancing drugs, I'm kind of like, "Well, whatever. We can't stop it necessarily but let's at least know what they're doing and know accurately with blood tests."
To me, it's worth the money. I'd pay $5 extra for a pay-per-view if that meant they would spend that money blood testing the athletes and keeping them safe because the piss tests are a joke. They don't even test for Human Growth Hormone. They've got fighters with heads the size of pumpkins that look like Barry Bonds' big brother and there's no way to catch that with urinalysis. It's just ridiculous. It's a farcical hypocrisy that does nothing to protect the fighters. It's just a fig leaf for the athletic commissions and the promotions to say, "Hey, we're testing," when they're not. Just give it up!"
Luke Thomas: Alright, again, we can hope for the best that this is not the case. Hopefully we can get some clarity on the issue soon. Somebody out there will report the truth one way or the other. My hope, I still hope against hope that we can get Condit/Diaz II on FOX. I didn't even want the rematch originally to be perfectly honest but it felt like the fan momentum was so much there that they were gonna make it and I know Cesar Gracie is out there saying what he's saying. I am hoping that it's just leveraging stuff because I want to see these two fight again and I want to see them doing it leveraging the controversy they've built. That would be nothing better for those two and for the sport to get that on a UFC on FOX. Nate, last word, if they do rematch, where do you want them to rematch?
Nate Wilcox: I want them on FOX. I want them on FOX. I think that's just huge. They've got their pay-per-view calendar pretty much filled out without that fight but they have that gaping hole on FOX and that would be a huge fight on FOX television and I think that the second fight would be a very different fight. You've got Diaz, who didn't adjust mid-fight to what Condit was doing, but this is a guy who rebuilt his entire game when he ran up against wrestlers who could stop his jiu-jitsu so he became this mugging boxing style of fighting and he ran into somebody who found a way to counter that. I look forward to seeing how Diaz and his camp adjust to that strategy. How hard can it be to stop a guy from spinning out away from you on the cage? I think he discovered in the fifth round that he could get Condit down and it seemed like he could dominate Condit on the ground.
You gotta think that the second fight would be way different. I think the utmost of both fighters. They're incredibly skilled, incredibly mentally powerful, incredibly physically conditioned athletes. Both are from good camps, well trained. It's a fight I'd want to see again. I enjoyed watching the last fight two or three times. I watched it twice yesterday and enjoyed it both times, paid attention the whole way through. I still don't know how I'd score the fight but I'd like to see it on FOX.
Again, this is Nick Diaz. He might still be retired. He might be serious about that. There could be any number of things other than this rumor and this is just a rumor.
Luke Thomas: The reason we're talking about it is it's such, every time it comes up, it's such a thorn in my side because you can get people who are like pro marijuana supporters who are like, "Well, I don't want guys competing high." Neither do I, but what they're doing doesn't address it at all. At all. It's a total fucking lie.
Nate Wilcox: I don't want guys fighting on HGH but they are. Every single event but they're not tested for it at all. I guarantee it.