As the largest mixed martial arts promotion company in the world the UFC has every right to write and enforce their own set of laws and regulations when it comes to their fighters and substance abuse. However, in a recent situation they banned UFC fighter Matthew Riddle completely from the program when he failed his second drug test in seven months. Matthew Riddle was banned for his marijuana use, but he is a legal medical marijuana patient in Nevada. Although the UFC rules trump his beliefs and opinions on what he can intake or put into his body, do you think the UFC should reconsider their stringent policies on medical marijuana use? With more of their fighters testing positive for marijuana use, it is quite clear that this medicinal alternative might be the preference over pharmaceutical drugs for these competitors.
I believe that the UFC is a perfect program to implement a regulated system in which their employees (fighters), who are legally prescribed marijuana, could use it for medical purposes to help their bodies recover from the battles that they endure in the octagon. Unless the UFC considers marijuana to be a performance-enhancing substance I don't see why they would be against the medical value it provides for their fighters, who ultimately make the UFC what it is today. Riddle is clearly using marijuana as a medical alternative to help him recover like any other pharmaceutical drug would. He was using it to help his body recover so he could be fully prepared, both physically and mentally, for his next fight (which unfortunately will not be happening). This benefits both him as a competitor and the UFC as a business. So to terminate his contract because he used a substance that provides similar relief to over-the-counter medications seems a little harsh. Will employers, especially those in the sport/entertainment industry, ever reconsider their policies on medical marijuana use? As more states push to legalize medical marijuana and even recreational marijuana it will be interesting to see how some of these programs adjust their policies, if at all, to these changes in marijuana reform.
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