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5 MMA Fighters That Support Cannabis

In 2021, the UFC and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced a significant change to the UFC’s anti-doping program. Shortly after that announcement in July 2021, the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) – which regulates some of the most high-profile boxing and MMA fights in the world – unanimously changed its anti-doping policy to no longer ban athletes the use or possession of cannabis.

These developments have been made due to the lack of scientific evidence that cannabis can be considered a performance-enhancing substance. Even as the rules change, there are MMA fighters who have been fighting for these reforms and championing the benefits of cannabis for years. Here are some of the most well-known and outspoken MMA fighters who are cannabis advocates.

Sean O’Malley

“Sugar” Sean O’Malley is a 25-year-old MMA fighter famous for smoking cannabis with Snoop Dogg. He was outspoken and shameless cannabis advocate, supporting the use of cannabis for recreational and medical purposes. He said he believes cannabis is the best medicine and he personally uses cannabis to unwind at the end of the day. O’Malley even introduced his own strain in 2018, a hybrid between Lemonhead and OG 92 called Suga Show OG.

The Diaz Brothers

The Diaz brothers are both cannabis advocates. Nick Diaz was ahead of his time when it came to cannabis advocacy. He has been a strong cannabis advocate and has touted cannabis for its benefits as a recovery and focus-enhancing agent.

Nate Diaz, the younger of two brothers, has publicly stated that he uses cannabis because of its amazing healing and anti-inflammatory properties. Sean O’Malley isn’t the only one with his own cannabis strain — Diaz has his own strain called Kill_4209. He also owns his own small CBD business.

Jake Shields

Jake Shields explained how he uses cannabis to get creative when learning jujitsu combat to see things from different angles and perspectives. He said in an interview that consuming cannabis helps him get in and out of his head. He also uses cannabis at night to sleep. Additionally, Shields is a big proponent of using cannabis for pain from his own personal experience. As a child, Shields’ father became addicted to prescription painkillers following a serious car accident. Ultimately, he was able to find relief from addiction and pain by replacing pharmaceuticals with cannabis.

Elias Theodorou

Theodorou excelled as a middleweight MMA fighter in the UFC, but the competition took its toll on his body, compounding the injuries he suffered from skateboarding years before. Diagnosed with nerve damage called bilateral neuropathy, he turned to cannabis for pain relief. Since then, he has used his personal experience to talk about the healing power of cannabis.

“You can crush a handful of Percocet before a fight, and no one will ask you questions”, he said about cannabis reform. “But if you happen to smoke a joint a week or two before, you can be penalized for it.”

Sasha Palatnikov

Sasha Palatnikov was born in Hong Kong and is currently a fighter in Las Vegas. Palatnikov has spoken publicly about the positive benefits of microdosing. He also talked about how he uses cannabis as a sleep aid after fights. He married her support and personal experience of using cannabis for pain management.

Cannabis and professional athletes seem to go hand in hand. With the change in UFC policy and the prevalence of MMA fighters entering the legal cannabis industry or promoting CBD products, we will continue to see more MMA fighters and professional athletes of all sports using cannabis for recovery and its other medicinal benefits in the future.

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