Despite changing policies, two MMA fighters have been suspended for weed

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After years of suspensions and sanctions, the Nevada State Athletic Commission announced in July that it would no longer be fining or otherwise penalizing athletes for cannabis-related infractions.

So it was a surprise to many when lightweight fighters Yancy Medeiros and Justin Jaynes were handed four-and-a-half month suspensions this week after testing positive for THC.

Both fighters were recently released from the UFC, and both fighters wrapped up their Ultimate Fighting Championship careers with four consecutive losses.

Michigander featherweight Jaynes, 32, was recently in the media spotlight having bet the entire fight purse on himself in a brawl against Charlie Rosa that would be his final fight in the UFC, which he lost.

Hawaiian fan-favourite Medeiros, 33, also lost his final UFC fight after an eight-year stint in June’s UFC Vegas 30.

Medeiros and Jaynes’ suspensions will expire in mid-November.

Both athletes were also hit with fines as a result of their urinalyses – Jaynes incurred a debt of US$1,245.36 (about $1,582), while Medeiros had to pay a significantly larger fine of US$2,690.72 (about $3,418).

The fines come after an about-face in January from UFC president Dana White that saw the promotion, along with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), revise its policy on athletes’ cannabis consumption, which was followed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s decision to do the same, although local athletics commissions are still permitted to test and sanction athletes who test positive for THC.

The Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC) also recently opted to reconsider its policies surrounding cannabis this past spring.

“THC is not a performance-enhancing drug, it is a performance suppressor, and athletes who test positive for THC should not be punished in the same manner as an athlete that tests positive for performance-enhancing drugs,” the ABC medical advisory committee said in a statement.


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