Fighters will no longer be sanctioned under the UFC anti-doping program for testing positive for marijuana, UFC and USADA officials announced Thursday, according to MMA Junkie's John Morgan.
Positive tests won't be considered policy violations unless there's evidence that a fighter used the substance with the intent of enhancing their performance.
"While we want to continue to prevent athletes from competing under the influence of marijuana, we have learned that blood and/or urine levels of carboxy-THC have little to no scientific correlation to impairment," UFC senior vice president of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitzky said in a statement.
"THC is fat soluble, meaning that once ingested, it is stored in fatty tissues and organs in the body and can be released back into the blood or urine, sometimes long after ingestion."
Novitzky said the UFC and USADA will rely on visual evidence and cognitive behavioral tests to determine if an athlete is competing under the influence of marijuana.
"The bottom line is that in regards to marijuana, we care about what an athlete consumed the day of a fight, not days or weeks before a fight, which has often been the case in our historic positive THC cases," Novitzky said.
Most state athletic commissions still ban marijuana if it's detected at a certain level, so fighters must still be cautious if they choose to ingest the substance. But Novitzky hopes the UFC's policy change will make commissions rethink their own policies.