This week was another week of cuts in the UFC as Matthew Riddle was dropped for testing positive a second time for marijuana. This time around it gets interesting as Matthew is claiming he was fired for “over taking my medicine because I don’t want to take pharmaceutical drugs or testosterone. This is what works for me, it’s just s----y, but it is what it is.” I for one think that marijuana being illegal is dumb; it is a natural substance that could be highly taxable and is really no different than alcohol other than the stigma we have attached to it for the past 40 or so years. But this is the world we live in where pot has this stigma and guys like Riddle don't seem to want to fix the stigma at all.
Because just like using alcohol you cannot show up to your job drunk and therefore you can't show up high either and that is why they test for it. The fascinating thing about Matthew’s argument that you can read here, is that he says he has stopped smoking as late as two weeks out from a fight and this time around he stopped three weeks out and still got popped. I am not an expert on the plant but I know that things that occur in nature can have varied levels of potency so a set time may not flush all of the residual substances out of your system depending on the naturally occuring variables.
He goes on to say ““It (Marijuana) doesn’t just help me sleep, it relaxes me. It also takes care of my aches and pains. I’ve had four surgeries since I joined the UFC and I had knee surgery before I signed with them. Even taking ibuprofen makes me sick, I get nauseous and it hurts my stomach. I can’t even handle anything stronger than that, I’m not allergic to it, I just can’t stomach it.”
Much like the TRT argument if you need marijuana to do your job it is time you might need to think about another job that isn’t as hard on your body.
Also this week former middleweight boxing champ Julio Cesar Chavez Jr was hit with a 9 month suspension in the wake of his positive marijuana test for his fight this past September. So this is not merely an MMA problem, but a problem that needs a different point of view. Marijuana is illegal on the federal level; it is illegal in the workplace, but legal on the state level either medicinally or recreationally depending on the state. The medicinal level is where it differs from alcohol because as far as I know beer isn’t prescribed to heal any aches and pains but that doesn’t change the fact that if your boss tells you it is grounds for termination and you do it twice and then get terminated – you really have no argument.
If you are an advocate for anything the dumbest strategy for changing people’s minds is to force them into your point of view – it isn’t practical and it isn’t permanent. In order to change the view of what the world sees as a “pot head” you need a contingent of people who use the drug the way in which it is prescribed and then can test clean when their job tells them that they need to. This would be the same issue if the UFC tested for alcohol but they don’t and so it appears that they are going after pot users and perhaps they are. But if you know that and still take your chances it is the same as having a pet rattlesnake, it is only a matter of time until you get bit.