The Bloody Elbow report that Jessica Eye's failed UFC 166 drug test was the result of testing positive for marijuanacaused an unexpected stir. Original reports were that she had tested positive for a blood thinning medication, something she'd been on since 16 after being struck by a drunk driver.
Bloody Elbow reported that multiple sources within athletic commissions had stated that Eye's failed test was instead for marijuana. These sources did not back down when Eye and her fans became very upset following the publication of the article, instead providing strong statements to Bloody Elbow that they were "positive" of the reason for the failure.
Multiple experts in the drug testing process for commissions stated that a blood thinning medication would not turn up in the urine tests as provided by athletic commissions. The list of what is tested for in Texas is provided on their website:
(4) Barbiturates and Benzodiazepines;
(5) Cannabinoids (marijuana)
(6) Anabolic agents (exogenous and endogenous)
(7) Peptide hormones
(8) Masking agents
(11) Beta-2 agonists (including both optical isomers where relevant) are prohibited except salbutamol (maximum 1600 micrograms over 24 hours), formoterol (maximum 36 micrograms over 24 hours) and salmeterol when taken by inhalation in accordance with the manufacturers’ recommended therapeutic regimen;
(12) Hormones and Metabolic Modulators;
(13) Alcohol; or
(14) Any pharmacological substance not addressed above that is not currently approved by any governmental regulatory health authority for human therapeutic use such as drugs under pre-clinical or clinical development or discontinued; or designer drugs; or substances approved only for veterinary use.
There are also legitimate safety concerns over the idea of a fighter competing while on a blood thinning medication. Blood thinners would lead to higher risks of significant bruising, difficulty in stopping cuts due to dampened ability for the blood to clot (good if at risk of blood clots, bad for fighters in competition) and, most seriously, an increased risk of intracranial bleeding.
Bloody Elbow spoke to a number of experts from various athletic commissions, all who stressed that, due to these risks, a fighter should not be licensed to compete if they require being on blood thinning medication.
One commission member stated, "the risks of allowing to compete while on a blood thinner are simply too high. It's unfortunate. But, if a fighter needs to be on a blood thinning medication, I see no way they can be a professional fighter."
In a conversation with Dr. Robert Cantu, co-founder of the Sports Legacy Institute, vice-president of the Association of Ringside Physicians and a man involved with the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission, Dr. Cantu stated that a ringside physician with knowledge that a fighter is on a blood thinner would not license that fighter to compete as it is "contraindicative to fighting."
Dr. Cantu also stressed that this would go both for actual blood thinning medication such as Warfarin and Heparin as well as medications where decreased clotting was a side effect, such as aspirin.
In this case, it would appear that Jessica Eye could face a dramatic uphill battle for licensing in many states if she actually is on a blood thinning medication. Things will likely be much easier for her if the report of her testing positive for marijuana are proven true.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission was unable to answer questions about the situation when Bloody Elbow called for comment on the possibilities of Eye getting licensed if the talk of blood thinning medication is true.
It should be noted that Eye has not stated anything in public about what she did or did not test positive for. She has also expressed an extreme disinterest in discussing this situation with Bloody Elbow.
We will continue to monitor the situation in the coming hours and days and bring you any updates, corrections or information as it becomes available.
Update: In the original version of this story I forgot to include that the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation said that zero blood tests were conducted for fighters at UFC 166.