Marijuana, Nate Diaz © Nick King_Lansing State Journal, Lansing State Journal via Imagn Content Servi

Report: Nearly half of all MMA fighters use marijuana

"I think that sounds pretty accurate."

Things are changing in regards to societal norms. With many American states now legalising marijuana, and CBD products becoming all the more popular amongst athletes, it may not be too surprising to read what was recently uncovered. The stigma around cannabis is slowly starting to fade, certainly as elite athletes admit to usage. In a study done by The Athletic, 170 MMA fighters were polled in a wide-ranging survey, revealing that 45.9% use marijuana for recreational or recovery purposes, while 76.5% admit to using CBD products.

Jeff Novitzky, senior vice president of athlete health and performance in the UFC, was hardly surprised by the findings. “I think that sounds pretty accurate,” was his response to the numbers. Novitzky said that marijuana-related questions probably are the number one topic in discussions with UFC fighters. Anti-doping agency USADA, which the UFC use as a governing body for drug testing, has recently implemented much more lax restrictions for cannabis.

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Despite many laws and regulations regarding cannabis changing, it may still be somewhat too taboo for certain fighters to discuss openly. There are, however, several UFC fighters who have been very open about their recreational marijuana use. Nick and Nate Diaz were perhaps the first to bring marijuana to light in the MMA scene. Several fan favourites such as Derrick Lewis and Sean O’Malley are also open about recreational use of cannabis.

While 170 fighters is not even half of the entire UFC roster, it seems to be fairly representative, based on what Novitzky said about the findings. Only time will tell if the current numbers will rise.

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