Tag: Nate Diaz

UFC Legend Nate Diaz Lit Up Cannabis, then the Octagon, then the MMA World

Fighter Nate Diaz has never won a title in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming a legend with mixed martial arts (MMA) fans due to his all-around talent combined with his entertaining, never-say-die fighting style. Diaz has amazing cardio and jiu-jitsu skills and he apparently loves to box and brawl in the ring (or the UFC’s Octagon), often leaving the fight in a bloody mess. Many of his fights aren’t for the squeamish, but his skill set has captured the hearts of fans and other fighters.

Nate and his brother Nick have both earned cult-like status with fighting fans for their action-packed fights, especially among the cannabis community as they’ve both been very open about their cannabis use. With seemingly an endless amount of cardio, the Diaz brothers have certainly shattered the stereotype of the “lazy stoner.”

Nate took his stature up a notch last weekend, which seemed unlikely given where he was in the past with a win and entertaining loss with fellow MMA legend Conor McGregor (thus far, the biggest UFC star of all-time). However, leave it to a Diaz brother to manage to still shock the MMA world, first by lighting up cannabis at a pre-fight press conference and then almost knocking out top contender Leon Edwards after Edwards had battered, bruised, and bloodied Diaz over the course of five rounds. Leon may have won the sporting competition and could be getting a title shot soon, but it was Nate that won the fight in how he was still elevated in the minds of fight fans around the world.

MMA Fighting reported on how Diaz captured attention before his last fight:

“Great working with AZ Commission, who are adopting our testing program/rules for this weekend,” (UFC VP of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff) Novitzky tweeted ahead of UFC 263 in Arizona. “Only issue with marijuana (THC) for Saturday’s fights is don’t show up impaired or under the influence. How it should be!”

Diaz, a well-known and well documented marijuana user, took full advantage. He was seen lighting up a joint on stage during the press conference.

“That’s Kill_4209,” Diaz answered when asked what he was smoking. “That’s the chronic, right there baby. You already know what’s up.”

ESPN’s Ariel Helwani summed up how Diaz ended up winning even though he lost on the judge’s scorecard:

Why? Because after getting beat up for 24 minutes, Diaz rocked Edwards with a left. Diaz pointed at Edwards, he mocked him, he rocked him some more — but then Diaz ran out of time.

Another minute and Diaz could have potentially finished Edwards. Had Diaz done so, it would have been one of the wildest things this sport has ever witnessed. It would have vaulted Diaz, the icon, the superstar, the needle mover, into another stratosphere. But alas, he ran out of time.

Still, it was Diaz who was celebrating after the judges’ scorecards were read. It was Diaz who received the standing ovation and cheers from the crowd. It was Diaz who was the talk of social media afterward.

Whether you are a fight fan or a sports fan at all, it is undeniable that professional athletes are important in the United States and help shape our culture. Cultural victories can be about as crucial as political and legal ones, and shattering stereotypes move us one step closer towards winning our ultimate fight for freedom. Thank you, Nate Diaz for helping knock down another Reefer Madness stereotype.

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Featured photo courtesy of Wiki Commons.

Ultimate Fighting Championship Ends Punishment for Positive Cannabis Tests

Step by step, we are seeing cannabis use properly move mainstream and the sports world is no different. Fresh off the heels of the NBA announcing that it will not be drug testing basketball players for cannabis this year, a move expected to become permanent, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has ended its policy of punishing fighters for testing positive for cannabis. Ridiculously, cannabis has been treated the same as steroids or other illegal performance enhancing drugs, with fighters losing fights, pay, sponsorships, and bonuses.

I imagine that fan favorites, and known cannabis connoisseurs Nick and Nate Diaz, smiled when they heard the news, knowing that they were ahead of their time. Pat Healy, who lost at least $130,000 in fight bonuses due to a positive test back in 2013, should get his lost wages, as should every other previously sanctioned fighter, in my personal opinion. The Associated Press reported on the UFC’s landmark testing policy shift on cannabinoids derived naturally from marijuana are no longer prohibited substances, according to Jeff Novitzky, the UFC’s senior vice president of athlete health and performance:

The UFC won’t allow fighters to compete while under the influence of cannabinoids, but Novitzky said the promotion recognizes that MMA fighters often use marijuana for pain management or relaxation. Fighters advocating for legal competitive marijuana use have previously argued that a loosening of the UFC’s anti-marijuana rules could lead to a reduction in the use of antidepressants or more addictive pain medications.

The UFC partnered with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in 2015 to produce a comprehensive anti-doping program in a notoriously fractious sport. Mixed martial arts once frequently showcased fighters semi-openly using steroids and testosterone replacement therapy, among other performance enhancements.

“The goal of the UFC anti-doping program is to protect the rights of clean athletes by deterring intentional cheaters and holding those who choose to dope accountable in a fair and effective way,” USADA CEO Travis Tygart said. “These amended rules are aimed at this, and to continue our focus on preventing intentional cheating and not to unnecessarily punish athletes for behavior that does not impact the fairness or safety of competition.”

As our nation grapples with so many other health issues, one of the most least addictive and dangerous drugs should not be prohibited, pushing athletes and ordinary folks to use more deadly substances, such as alcohol and opiates. Slowly but surely, it is good to see that science and common sense are winning the day. When it comes to legalization versus prohibition, legalization wins in a knockout.