Rousey against testing for marijuana
February 18, 2014
MMA Junkie reports on Ronda Rousey’s opinion on the testing of marijuana on fighters. Although Rousey believes that marijuana is an “invasion of privacy” it is actually not.
The women’s bantamweight champ told MMA Junkie, “It is beyond their [state athletic commissions/sanctioning bodies] rights [to test for marijuana],” Rousey said. “It’s actually an invasion of privacy.”
Rousey, who will main event UFC 170 this Saturday was asked the question about marijuana in the sport after UFC women’s fighter Jessica Eye tested positive for marijuana. Eye’s positive test and subsequent mangling of the situation is a public relations case study. Rousey believes that marijuana is not a performance enhancer and should not be tested. Regardless of Rousey’s opinion, she is required by commissions in the states and sanctioning bodies where the UFC holds events to submit to a drug test.
A sample portion of a UFC contract under the “Fighter’s Conduct” section:
8.5 Fighter shall not use any controlled or banned substance, including but not limited to marijuana, cocaine, metamphetamine, steroids, human growth hormone or any similar drugs or blood doping techniques (each a “Controlled Substances, and Fighter agrees to submit to any pre-Bout or post-Bout drug test as requested by an Athletic Commission. Fighter shall be deemed to be in breach of this Section if Fighter tests positive for any Controlled Substance in any pre-Bout or post-Bout drug test.
We do not know for sure that this paragraph is in Rousey’s contract, but one would think it’s unlikely that this would be negotiated out of a contract. Even if this language is not in her actual contract, we may assume that something like this would be included.
The fighters are subject to the rules of the athletic commission and/or sanctioning bodies and even though social perceptions on marijuana have changed and two states have legalized marijuana it is still considered a banned substance that will be tested. In fact, the two UFC events in Washington state where marijuana is legal, the Washington State Department of Licensing (the state agency overseeing boxing/MMA and wrestling) tested UFC fighters for marijuana.
As for the “invasion of privacy” comment, this is not correct. The fighters agree to be tested by the various sanctioning bodies and most, if not all, test for marijuana. If this is to change, someone would have to lobby for the stop to marijuana testing. Perhaps Rousey is speaking out in hopes of gaining some traction with other fighters to lobby against this testing. Until then, marijuana will still be tested and will be subject to penalty.