UFC fighters

Donald Cerrone, center left, and Anthony Pettis fight during a UFC 249 mixed martial arts bout Saturday, May 9, 2020, in Jacksonville, Fla.

(Meredith) – In a new policy change, UFC announced Thursday it will no longer punish fighters for cannabis use in most cases.

In a statement, UFC said positive tests for carboxy-THC – the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis – will no longer be consider a violation of the UFC drug policy, unless evidence shows that an athlete used it intentionally for performance-enhancing purposes.

All other “phyto” cannabinoids – those derived naturally from the cannabis plant – are also no longer prohibited substances under the UFC drug policy. These cannabinoids are often found in various CBD products used widely by UFC fighters, and according to the UFC statement, no evidence exists that they would provide any significant performance advantage, nor do they have any health consequences for UFC athletes.

UFC Senior Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky said in a statement that THC can appear in a urine test long after it was ingested and “therefore not an ideal marker in athletes to indicate in-competition impairment.”

“The bottom line is that in regard 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.

UFC Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell said this policy change is the third modification made to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy since its creation in July 2015.

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