Extreme contact sports like mixed martial arts inflict a tremendous amount of pain, whether in contest or training. Cannabis relieves pain. These are things we know.
So it would make complete sense that athletes participating in the National Football League or Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) would gravitate toward a medicine that can help them therapeutically while not taking hold of them with the grips of addiction.
UFC stars like the Diaz brothers have been vocal about their use of marijuana, advocating for the plant’s immense benefits while fighting the establishment’s puzzling sanctions against those caught using it.
If a fighter lives and competes in a state where medical marijuana is legal, what reason would the league have to stifle that personal choice?
According to one of the UFC’s up-and-coming stars, the wildly popular sport may not prohibit marijuana for much longer.
Kelvin Gastelum, set to fight Chris Weidman in the title card for UFC on FOX 25, called in to “The Luke Thomas Show” on SiriusXM Satellite Radio on Thursday to discuss a range of topics, including his upcoming fight and the ongoing debate about marijuana in sports.
Kelvin Gastelum didn’t offer specifics, but said he has reason to believe USADA is exploring more lenient restrictions on marijuana.
— Luke Thomas (@lthomasnews) June 1, 2017
Luke Thomas: Why do you use marijuana?
Kelvin Gastelum: I feel like it helps for sure with my training. Apart from the recreational, it does have benefits for my recovery, for the inflammation in the muscles, and whenever I want to take a mental break and block out all of the crap that goes on everyday. It helps relieve the stress, helps us relax. We go through so much physically and mentally, we need a little break. I need to somehow relax my muscles and somehow to relax the mind.
Gastelum, a Huntington Beach, California native, is technically still under suspension stemming from a March fight in Brazil. An in-competition sample of Gastelum’s urine from March 11 tested positive for more than 180 ng/mL of THC, the limit set forth by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). Gastelum was handed down a six-month sentence of ineligibility that was later reduced to three months, allowing the fighter to meet his July match with Weidman. Gastelum’s suspension expires on June 10, 2017.
With the approval of their doctor and a committee of medical professionals designated by the USADA, fighters in the UFC can apply for what is called a Therapeutic Use Exemption that allows them to continue using the exempt drug throughout competition. However, Gastelum did not have the exempt status before his fight in Brazil so his positive test carried a penalty.
The rising star was set to square up against Anderson Silva this Saturday on the UFC 212 card, but will now have to wait for Weidman.
Cover Image Courtesy of MMA Imports