MMA’s post-Brock Lesnar villain Nickolas Diaz is no stranger to negative press.
Given the fighter’s blatant disregard for the UFC’s anti-weed policies, Diaz would have us believe that he’s impervious to their regulations.
Unfortunately, following Nick Diaz’s unanimous decision loss to Anderson Silva in UFC 183, one of Diaz’s drug tests turned up positive for marijuana—putting the fighter back $165,000 and 5 years off from fighting (the charges have since been reduced to $100,000 and an 18 month suspension).
Anderson Silva also tested positive… for steroids.
His punishment: $380,000 fine and 1 year suspension.
No doubt the fine was deserved, but only one year?? Bear in mind, when he was sentenced a measly one year off from fighting, Diaz was looking at five.
Is this to suggest that weed is as bad, if not worse, than performance-enhancing drugs?
Weed: PED and T-Killer?
In the context of performance-enhancing drugs (i.e. steroids, stimulants), marijuana is a tough sell:
- Traditionally, this non-anabolic, naturally occurring drug is used as a mental & physical relaxant—which runs counter to the typical PED profile. Some argue that marijuana’s relaxation effects could aid rest—subsequently enhancing performance—but this hasn’t been shown to give athletes a significantly unfair advantage.
Even the language surrounding “why marijuana-use in MMA is bad” is full of contradictions. On one side, Keith Kizer, Nevada Sports Athletic Commission (NSAC) Executive Officer, makes a point that:
“The drug is banned because of the damage it does to the person taking it. It could make you lethargic, slow your reflexes, and those are dangerous things in a combat sport.”
Essentially, Kizer believes that weed gives the user a dangerous disadvantage, that the NSAC’s anti-weed policy essentially saves the lives of pot-smokers who want to step into the arena high.
Yet, following Diaz’s second positive test for marijuana in 2007, Dr. Tony Alamo, the Commission’s Chair, suggested something different:
“I was there at this fight and believe that you [Diaz] were intoxicated and… that it made you numb to the pain. Did it help you win? I think it did.”
Bear in mind, Diaz won this upset victory by submitting PRIDE Fighting Champions’ lightweight champion Takanori Gomi—surprisingly, Diaz’s post-fight urinalysis revealed a high 175 ng of THC.
However, using this to “prove” THC’s legitimacy as a PED doesn’t necessarily work.
Scientifically speaking: Weed does not enhance performance. Judging by its negative effects on our T-supply, pot looks more like a performance-diminisher (lending more support to Kizer’s belief). According to animal & human research, weed depletes T in at least two ways:
- Acute exposure to THC inhibits GnRH secretion & several testicular enzymes, directly & indirectly slowing T production.
- Weed also possesses estrogenic effects that not only diminish testosterone, but can give you a soft, womanly frame.
While the occasional puff won’t kill your T—marijuana’s effects on T were shown to be reversible within 24 hours—hitting the chronic chronically could lower the day-to-day ceiling on your T count.
With that in mind, for Diaz to be a successful pot-smoking fighter he’d have to (theoretically) only smoke on “game-day”—thus, preserving his testosterone for when it truly matters: During training & recovery.
However, not only would this behavior make zero sense, but it’s not true:
Diaz smokes a lot of pot.
Considering the legality of weed and its effects on testosterone, our only question is how could Diaz be such an avid pot smoker and a successful, competent fighter?
More importantly: Why? Why would Diaz potentially sacrifice his strength gains & career for pot?
Nick Diaz doesn’t give a shit.
In an interview with High Times, when asked if he was still angry about the suspension, Diaz responded:
“It’s not like I purposely failed my test, but I purposely did not give a shit. I’m more focused on giving more of a shit about the fight.
Despite an ongoing track record of 3 positive drug tests—tallying a total of $200,000+ in fines and 36 months in suspension—Diaz has never A) apologized for his cannabis use, or B) quit smoking.
If anything, he has been persistently vocal on the point, openly stating that he’ll never not smoke, using the drug to contrast himself to steroid-users who are the ones “hurting themselves.” At one point, he shamelessly revealed to LA Times how he “can pass a drug test in eight days with herbal cleansers.”
But exactly how much pot does Diaz smoke?
“If I’m going to train all day, when I get done, I’m gonna want to smoke. If I have to go and train all day, before I go, I’m gonna want to smoke. If I wake up in the morning and feel beat to shit, and it’s going to take me forever to wake up, I smoke some weed and I wake right up. Then I have breakfast and I go do a workout.”
That’s a lot of weed… Yet, ironically, Diaz doesn’t consider himself a drug-user, based on the difference between synthetic drugs (meth, LSD, etc.) and an organic drug such as marijuana. He attributes this to living organically—“vegetarian for the most part”—and avoiding the “dope game” of Stockton, CA, where he grew up.
And beyond Diaz’s semantics of marijuana: If he’s at all concerned on how marijuana affects his T, he hasn’t shown it. Frankly, neither has his body.
In actuality Diaz credits pot smoking for his ability to “chill out, relax a little bit” and focus on his fighting—but in no way has he given it credit for his ability to fight. Again, Diaz doesn’t give a shit about weed in MMA, especially in comparison to the rampant steroid-use in the sport.
Ultimately, weed isn’t Diaz’s game. His game is “the fight” and if smoking weed helps him along the path to getting there…
Then Diaz is going to smoke weed.
The amount of support on behalf of Diaz has been overwhelming, from the petition to the White House to Ronda Rousey’s speech, when she stated that weed is “not a performance-enhancing drug… it’s only tested for political reasons.”
However, you’ll notice that the man-on-trial, the subject of this story, Mr. Nickolas Diaz, never made a fuss about weed. Because, in the end, marijuana is only a plant.
Yes, weed depletes T. But if you’re using it responsibly, you’re exercising, you’re taking a quality testosterone-booster supplement, and you’re driven to do more in your life than just smoke weed… then you’re probably going to be fine.
The moral of the story? Marijuana will neither make nor break your performance.
…Just don’t do steroids. That’s a dick move.