If only Kelvin Gastelum knew what Nate Diaz knows now. The best way to get busted for using marijuana (or in this case, its derivative products) is to do it big, and flashy, and right in everyone’s face.
That’s what Nate Diaz did at a post fight media scrum after UFC 202. Shortly after his decision loss to Conor McGregor, Diaz spoke to reporters while using a vape pen. Telling them that the CBD oil inside, “helps with the healing process and inflammation, stuff like that. So you want to get these for before and after the fights, training. It'll make your life a better place.”
His impromptu promo for vaping got him a slap on the wrist from USADA, as he was still technically under the “in competition” testing window. But if the risk ended up being relatively minor, the rewards were apparently much greater.
Speaking to Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour, Diaz revealed that the incident helped him make bank in the vaping industry (transcript via MMA Fighting).
“It don’t matter,” Diaz said, referring to the USADA investigation after UFC 202. “I banked out in the cannabis industry from it. … It was a good move and it was organic.”
“They tried to give me the cold shoulder and hide me out and let me die off,” Diaz said of the UFC. “But it’s all good because I'm not gonna die off. I’m still right here in the game. I’m still training harder than anybody. I still got people calling. The f*ckin’ cannabis industry is f*cking blowing money out of their mind over here.”
While Diaz’s success may be hard to follow for other fighters who don’t have his specific je ne sais quoi, the whole incident has led to a somewhat unforseen positive impact for the rest of the roster.
Following the UFC 202 investigation, USADA has reportedly changed their rules to narrow the ‘in competition’ testing window to end immediately after the completion of post-fight sample collection, or one-hour after post-bout medical clearance if samples aren’t collected quickly. “Yeah, they changed it. Compliments of your boy here. … Now we could do our thing. I’ve been a game changer. We just ain’t get no credit for it.”