Skip to content

Dana White: increased drug testing would boot 80 percent of UFC fighters for pot

Dec 28, 2012, 3:28 PM EDT

UFC 145: Jones v Evans - Press Conference Getty Images

If you’re wondering about that huge caravan of UFC fighters driving into Colorado and Washington, that’s probably due to the new marijuana laws. According to UFC president Dana White, those guys smoke a lot of weed. And I mean a lot.

White is fearful of the harm that PEDs can do in the sport (White: “When you take a performance-enhancing drug and you go in and you face another fighter, you can hurt him. You know what I mean?”). But as Nevada Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer has begun ordering more random drug tests, White is also fearful that more UFC fighters will get dinged for marijuana use.

Kizer will oversee UFC 155 on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden, featuring the main card of heavyweights Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez.

“Forget about PEDs,” White said. “If we get into this system that we’re talking about where we would randomly test these guys, do you know how many guys would probably test positive for marijuana? It would be probably off the charts.

“If you randomly test them and then [the results] came out, you’d get the exact same suspension [for using marijuana] as you do for using PEDs.

“Everybody thinks that if you did this random testing you’d catch so many guys on PEDs,” White said. “No. You’d catch more of the guys on marijuana. That’s where you’d really bust a lot of guys. … We have 475 guys under contract and probably 400 of them would be out with marijuana.”

White doesn’t think it’s fair that fighters should get the same penalties for marijuana use as they do for PEDs.

“But [giving fighters similar suspensions for using both PEDs and marijuana] is just crazy. It’s so easy to sit there and say, ‘Here’s what you should do. Here’s how you fix it,’ but there are so many flaws in the system, it’s just not that easy. It’s not just, ‘Hey, let’s sign up this company [to do testing].’ There’s a whole [expletive] of things that would come about.”

Caught between a rock and a hard place, White is. If the UFC wants to continue to go mainstream, it’s going to have to include more drug testing. Of course, White could say, ‘If the NFL goes first, we’ll follow.’

Or, UFC fighters could just quit smoking pot. Is that an option?

  1. malcolmkyle - Dec 29, 2012 at 4:25 AM

    Dana White is quite correct:

    “At least a good 50 [US] Olympic athletes” use marijuana regularly before they stop in time for testing.”
    —Stephany Lee

    “I just let him know that most of the players in the league use marijuana and I have and do partake in smoking weed in the offseason”
    —Josh Howard, forward for the Dallas Mavericks. Howard admitted to smoking marijuana on Michel Irvin’s ESPN show.

    “You got guys out there playing high every night. You got 60% of your league on marijuana. What can you do?”
    —Charles Oakley (Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards and Houston Rockets)

    “I personally know boxers, body builders, cyclists, runners and athletes from all walks of life that train and compete with the assistance of marijuana,”
    —WWE wrestler Rob Van Dam

    * Even many of the best cricket players of all time, like Phil Tufnell and Sir Ian Botham, have admitted to regularly using marijuana to deal with stress and muscle aches. In 2001, half of South Africa’s cricket team was caught smoking marijuana with the team physiotherapist. They were celebrating a championship victory in the Caribbean.

    Here are some typical individual examples:

    * Usain Bolt, the 2008 World Record holder of the 100 and 200 meter sprint.

    * Michael Phelps, the most decorated swimmer ever with 14 Olympic gold medals.

    * Tim Linecum, the National League baseball’s Cy Young Award winner for 2009.

    * Santonio Holmes, the Super Bowl XLII’s MVP.

    * Mark Stepnoski, two-time Super Bowl champion. “I’d rather smoke than take painkillers.”