Mar 15, 2013; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Nick Diaz during the weight-in for UFC 158 at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The unsystematic punishments for failed tests for marijuana


One of the unfortunate instances of Mixed Martial Arts is the fact that a fight can be marred later on by a failed post-fight drug test. Of course, every failed test brings along with it a certain stigma and punishment for the fighter in question. One of the more common reasons for a failed drug test in MMA is marijuana. Most would agree that marijuana is not a performance enhancing drug, and therefore it is not treated the same as a failed test for PED’s. That being said, some of the punishments for a positive marijuana test can be severe.

Unfortunately, with the most recent string of failed tests due to marijuana, we have witnessed a huge discrepancy in the punishments for the fighters. Today, I recount five failed post-fight drug tests due to marijuana, and compare the punishments for each fighter.

1. Nick Diaz- Following his UFC 143 interim title bout with Carlos Condit, Nick Diaz failed his NSAC post fight drug test due to marijuana metabolites. Diaz lost the controversial decision anyhow, so the bout’s result was unchanged. It is worth noting that this was Diaz’s second failed test in Nevada for marijuana.

Punishment: Diaz was ultimately suspended for one year, retroactive to his February 4th bout. He was also fined 30 percent of his fight purse from the Condit bout. The 30% fine ended up being $60,000 of the $200,000 he made from the bout.

2. Matt Riddle- Riddle failed two drug tests for marijuana during his time in the UFC. At UFC 149, Riddle defeated Chris Clements by submission, but failed his post fight drug test due to marijuana. His win was overturned to a no contest. At UFC on FUEL TV 7, Riddle again failed his post fight drug test for marijuana metabolites, and another win was changed to a no contest.

Punishment: For the first failed test, Riddle was fined an amount that was not disclosed and suspended for 90 days retroactive to the date of the bout. For the second failed test, the UFC was acting as the sanctioning body, and released Riddle from the UFC.

3. Pat Healy- After a successful UFC return at UFC 159 that saw him submit Jim Miller and win two ‘of the night’ bonuses, Healy tested positive for marijuana in his post fight drug test.

Punishment: Healy was forced to forfeit the $130,000 he made in bonus money due to the fact that his win was overturned to a no contest. Healy was also suspended for 90 days by the New Jersey Athletic Commission.

4. Jessica Eye- Four months after her split decision victory over Sarah Kaufman at UFC 166, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation announced that Eye’s win would be overturned to a no decision. By now you know that it took the commission over a week to release the information that Eye in fact tested positive for cannabinoids even though she denied accusations.

Punishment: Eye was fined $1875, and given a one year fully probated suspension. The probated suspension is more of a probation, and not a suspension at all. Eye is set to fight at UFC 170 against Alexis Davis.

5. Yancy Medeiros- Three months after his KO victory over Yves Edwards, the Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Authority announced that Medeiros failed his post fight drug test for marijuana metabolites. His win over Edwards was changed to a no contest.

Punishment: Medeiros was given a 90 day suspension retroactive to the event. Since the 90 days have already passed, Medeiros is clear to fight at UFC 172 against Joe Ellenberger.

It is evident in the cases above that the punishments simply do not add up. The issue is that each commission has it’s own regulations and rules to abide by, including the punishments they hand down. The UFC then has the ability to add on any punishment they see fit, such as cutting Matt Riddle or usurping Healy’s post fight bonuses.

Do you think the punishments above are fair? Would you like to see a more uniform set of rules and punishments from commissions? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @SchlinskMMA.

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Tags: Dana White Jessica Eye Matt Riddle Nick Diaz Pat Healy UFC Yancy Medeiros

  • Drew Lunn

    And this is why I do not support the UFC. Too many fighters get suspended and fined for BS like this. It’s weed man, get over it. It’s no more a performance enhancing drug than caffeine is. As a matter of fact, I’d venture as far to say that caffeine has more performance enhancing capabilities than pot mixed with alcohol, and opiates. Fining for pot alone makes your business a laughing stock, and alienates your fighters, fans, and viewers.