Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Is it right for a UFC fighter to be suspended for cannabis use?

UFC fighter Nick Diaz has been suspended for five years by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) for marijuana use. The decision was voted on and passed unanimously at a hearing held on Monday September the 14th 2015. You might be asking why am I talking about this? Usually I talk about horror, games and wrestling but the fact is back on my old forum I used to get in to politics and even give my opinion on news events and although this is the first time I am doing it here it is not something I ever intended to leave behind. Now this does not mean that I am going to try to be some kind of news blog, don’t expect to see me commenting on everything that happens in the world but when there are two or three things being said or going on which I feel are worthy of attention, worthy of questioning or debating then when I feel invested in it or interested enough I will share my thoughts and feelings on the matter. This is not a piece on the UFC so don't expect to start seeing any sort of UFC coverage here, in fact I nearly wrote about the UK's Prime minster and his smear campaign against the new leader of the opposition, its just a peice about something that has caught my eye. ( I may well give my opinion on David Cameron in a latter blog post)

What interests me here is that it was a recreational drug not a performance enhancing drug. If he has been caught with steroids running rampant through his blood then my opinion there would be no real story here, 99% of people would be happy for him to be suspended as they would see it as a case of him trying to use chemicals to stack the odds in his favour. A argument could be made that Marijuana could in some way affect him as a fighter, facts could be pulled out by someone that it increases your confidence for example and that this would have a result on the outcome of a fight and if they did I would be very happy to read this but when writing a piece for either a paper or for a blog you cant cover every base or you would simply never stop writing so this is something I am going to largely ignore and leave for others to discuss.

In this case there are a lot of points and counter points to think about and discuss for a start Diaz has a medical marijuana license in his home state of California. Which obviously leads me to wonder why he has one, what is it for and how much effort does it take to get one. Does he really need one is it for a serious reason? As far as I know obtaining a medical marijuana license in California, has long been rumoured to be remarkably easy, so I did some online research to see if this was the case, I was surprised to find on reading articles about it that Medical records are not necessary and you can literally get a license for it after what can best be described as a brief talk and quick physical, you can walk in to a Doctor’s office and tell them that you can’t sleep and think a bit of mary jane would help and after a little bit of inconvenience bobs your uncle. With this in mind I don’t think it matters why he is using it as where he is from you can obviously get it legally with the minimum of effort however marijuana is banned by athletic commissions for anyone who is in competition and Diaz was tested positive for having marijuana in his system during a post-fight drug screening following his main event bout with Anderson Silva at UFC 183 on Jan. 31 in Las Vegas. So it’s not a question of him breaking the law it’s basically a question of him breaking company rules and regulations, in other words it’s a bit like you turning up to work drunk, it’s not strictly speaking illegal but it is against the rules of your employment and a pretty stupid thing to do.

This wasn't the first time though It was the third time Diaz had failed a drug test for marijuana he had already been suspended for six months by the NSAC in 2007 after his fight with Takanori Gomi at PRIDE 33, then was suspended one year in 2012 after his loss to Carlos Condit at UFC 143 and now this. So people might be saying oh but he only took a bit of leaf it’s not like he was on steroids but the truth of the matter is that he knew the rules of what I am going to refer to as his employment, he knew them and broke them and was punished and then broke them again and again. This clearly shows he doesn’t care about the rules and he considers himself above them. Now I am sure all of us have found rules at work that we don’t agree with but the truth is that most sensible people tend to do one or two things in this situation and that is either grin and bear it because you want to work or fight it by using the law and various regulations in a diplomatic manner, observing the rule up until the point you can change things  or if you can’t either learning to live with the rule or moving on to somewhere else where the rules doesn't oppress what you view as your rights and freedoms.

During Monday's hearing, Diaz refused to answer any questions and instead pleaded the fifth. Yet as soon as he came out of it he raved and ranted to Fox sports  "I got into this sport for this exact reason being stuck in a room like that with people like that. First of all, this sport, this commission, they've done everything they can to keep me from being all the way on top where I should be. They've done everything they could to keep me from proving to the world that I'm the best fighter in the world, which I am. They want to have nothing but weak sauce fighters in the sport. Those people are nothing but a bunch of crooks up there." Now I dont know about you but to me the things he said and how he said them clearly smack of paranoia which is a side effect of prolonged cannabis use.

I actually believe in the legalisation of cannabis but I also do not believe in ignoring its effects on the human body, ultimately I believe that if you decide to enter a line of work/ or a professional sports world which chooses to make the presence of cannabis in your blood grounds for suspension or dismissal then they have the right to do that you should either role with it and follow there codes of conduct or find a different profession.

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