The UFC has officially removed cannabis from their banned substances list.
Carving their own path in the cannabis landscape, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) decided to officially remove cannabis from their list of banned substances (1). The mixed martial arts organization revealed their new Anti-Doping Policy for fighters which went into effect on December 31, 2023 in a recent press release (2).
Hunter Campbell, UFC Chief Business Officer, said that the (1-3), “UFC’s goal for the Anti-Doping Policy is to be the best, most effective, and most progressive anti-doping program in all of professional sports.” He added that, “UFC is proud of the advancements we have made with our anti-doping program over the past eight years, and we will continue to maintain an independently administered drug-testing program that ensures all UFC athletes are competing under fair and equal circumstances. With this new iteration of the program, UFC has once again raised the bar for health and safety in combat sports.”
“This latest UFC Anti-Doping Program is the result of our continued efforts to protect the athletes who compete in the Octagon,” Jeff Novitzky, UFC Senior Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance said (2).“This new program is the result of years of input and trial and error taken by UFC, our athletes, and third parties who have assisted UFC in operating the program.The anti-doping policy is a living and breathing document that will continue to evolve and adapt when clear science supports changes that can further protect UFC athletes who compete in UFC.”
The new program was created from feedback and also drug testing in the organization (3). Various major league sport establishments have taken their own individual stances on cannabis. Such as, Major League Baseball (MLB) which has removed cannabis from their banned substances list in 2019 (4) and signed a deal with cannabidiol (CBD) company, Charlotte’s Web in 2022. The National Basketball Association (NBA) removed cannabis from their banned substances list in July 2023 (5) as well. Even the National Football League (NFL) has made some moves for players who use cannabis. The 2020-2021 NFL collective bargaining agreement allowed for the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) “threshold” to be increased for cannabis testing and also altered their offseason policy regarding cannabis use with players (5).
With UFC’s news regarding their new Anti-Doping Policy on Cannabis (1) it will be interesting to see what other major sport organizations will follow in their footsteps.