Why Nate Diaz didn't commit an anti-doping violation, even if he was smoking weed at his open workout

Combat columnist
Yahoo Sports
Former UFC lightweight title challenger Nate Diaz smokes during an open workout for fans and media at Honda Center on Aug. 14, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Zuffa LLC)
Former UFC lightweight title challenger Nate Diaz smokes during an open workout for fans and media at Honda Center on Aug. 14, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Zuffa LLC)

Relax, everyone. Nate Diaz didn’t commit an anti-doping violation even if what he took a big drag of during his open workout Wednesday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, was a marijuana cigarette.

Diaz, who faces Anthony Pettis on Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 241, told reporters that the joint was CBD, which is legal at all times. But cannabinoids from marijuana are banned only during competition.

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The definition of in-competition is what is key here. According to the World Anti-Doping Agency regulations, which are recognized by both the California State Athletic Commission and the United States Anti-Doping Agency, in-competition for marijuana is 12 hours prior to the event until all testing has been concluded after the event.

So even if Diaz’s joint was weed, he would not face a violation.

In that event, his only concern would be the concentration level in his system. California uses the threshold of 150 nanograms per milliliter (150 ng/ml) of a natural or synthetic cannabinoid such as THC.

So while it is possible that a person could smoke marijuana a day or two before the fight and have it show up in a post-fight drug test, it likely wouldn’t reach the threshold required to become a violation.

Diaz’s older brother Nick tested positive for marijuana following a victory over Takanori Gomi on Feb. 24, 2007, at a PRIDE event in Las Vegas. Nick’s concentration of THC was 175 ng/ml, which was over the Nevada Athletic Commission’s standard at the time of 50 ng/ml.

Then-commission chairman Dr. Tony Alamo suggested Nick must have chain smoked marijuana on the day of the event to have such a high concentration.

Nate likely won’t face such issues because the threshold is so much higher now than it was then. And if, as he said, he was smoking CBD, there is no violation at all.

This is the same situation that caused some controversy in late 2014, right before Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier fought at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for the light heavyweight title at UFC 182. Jones failed a test for cocaine on Dec. 4, but because it was out-of-competition, it was not a violation.

So Diaz should be good to go against Pettis on Saturday unless he smokes a lot of marijuana — an awful lot — between now and then.

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