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Old 11-21-2012, 12:11 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Riddle and his medical marijuana dilemma.

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UFC welterweight Matt Riddle and the medical marijuana dilemma


The sport of mixed martial arts still isn't sure what to do about the pot smokers in its midst, which is bad news for them. It means they continue to get tested for a drug that remains in their systems far past the point of being active. If they get caught they're subject to punishments that don't fit the crime, all while the issue at the heart of the debate goes unexamined.

Just ask Matt Riddle if you don't believe me. He's a medical marijuana patient at home in Nevada, but when he got popped by a drug test in Calgary, where he beat Chris Clements with a finish that was dubbed "Submission of the Night" at UFC 149, he had the win erased from his record. He still considers himself 8-3 rather than 7-3 with one no contest, he told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) after a decision victory over John Maguire at UFC 154, but his record will never reflect it.

"I dropped him with a liver kick, hit him with a standing arm triangle, and it was a very dominant performance," Riddle said. "The unfortunate part is that, in this world, people are OK if you take Xanax and testosterone and all these other drugs as long as a doctor prescribes them, but if you're prescribed medical marijuana because of your issues, it's not acceptable and they really frown upon it."

And herein lies an important distinction, especially if you're one of those people who hears the words "medical marijuana" and immediately thinks "loophole." According to Riddle, he's got real issues that are really solved (or at least greatly improved) by using marijuana. Issues like ADHD, which he was diagnosed with as a child, and which led to him being prescribed an assortment of drugs. First there was Adderall, which killed his appetite since "it's basically speed," Riddle said. Then there was Prevacid to deal with stomach issues, since he wasn't eating well and was reduced to "skin and bones."

As a teenager, he started smoking marijuana for non-medicinal reasons, as many teenagers do. But he eventually found that it allowed him to ditch the prescriptions, and now, according to Riddle, "I don't take anything else."

He doesn't need to. Marijuana helps transform him from a high-strung basket case to someone who other people actually like, he said.

"You can ask anybody who hangs out with me, when I'm not on my medicine, it's not that I'm hard to be around, but I'm very intense," Riddle said shortly after his win over Maguire. "... I like to slow it down. I like to be normal, like a normal person. Right now, I'm on edge. If I didn't just get out of the cage, I'd want to beat the s--- out of somebody, just for no reason. That's just how I'm wired, and I don't like it. I like being a nice guy. When I use, I'm a very nice guy and everybody around me loves me more. I'm a much more pleasant guy to be around."

The problem is, athletic commissions don't seem to care. To them, there might as well be no such thing as medical marijuana. Even though Riddle said he typically stops smoking it about two weeks before a bout, he still risks coming up positive on tests when he shows up to fight. Just to make sure he didn't have problems in Montreal, the UFC tested him twice on its own dime before this fight, he said. He hadn't smoked lately, "but I'm a heavy user, so it sticks in my system."

And that's the thing about marijuana that makes testing athletes for it so bizarre. Even those who argue that it's a performance-enhancer of some sort have to admit that the person who used it four weeks before a fight is as guilty as the one who used it two weeks out. It's just that one is way more likely to get caught and punished.

"I know all these guys are taking testosterone and they have medical releases, and I'm hoping maybe I can talk to a commission or talk to somebody and maybe get the rules changed," Riddle said. "I'm not asking to rip a tube right before I get in the Octagon. I quit pretty far out."

Here's where we get into the issue that makes marijuana a different brand of banned substance. I think most of us would acknowledge that any fighter who uses steroids, whether he uses them close enough to a fight to get caught or not, is cheating. He's knowingly giving himself an unfair advantage, and he's doing it specifically to give himself an advantage. But with marijuana, the difference between getting caught and getting away with it is so tied up with when and how much you use, regardless of whether it's actually helping you on fight night, long after it's no longer active.

As UFC VP of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner said when I asked him about Riddle and other medical marijuana patients on the roster, "Right now, I think in every state, it's illegal to fight with it in your system. ... If you did it three or four months ago, that's one thing. But if you're smoking the week of the fight, that's going to show. My feeling is, there could be a suspension, but also sort of a rehab to talk about it."

But then, rehab implies that you want to stop, and Riddle doesn't. He likes his life on marijuana, and feels it allows him to live a healthier, happier existence.

"It helps me play video games and eat food," Riddle said. "That's what it helps me do."

But because of commissions with a drug testing philosophy that somehow justifies testing for the presence of marijuana metabolites while not testing for the presence of synthetic testosterone, fighters like Riddle have to take steps to hide their usage. It's a system that makes cheaters out of honest, medicinal users, while also turning a blind eye to the very real dangers of other drugs.

That's a point that Riddle said he once tried to make to Ratner when he asked how it was possible for so many fighters to get therapeutic-use exemptions for testosterone while he risked losing a win and a few months of his career due to an herb that he is legally allowed to smoke. According to Riddle, that's when Ratner asked him, "Do you really want to have this conversation?"

Riddle said he did not, but I do. I think it's a conversation MMA has to have, if only because right now we're not getting good answers to some very good questions. As some states relax their laws about marijuana usage, Ratner acknowledged that it did seem to be gaining social acceptance, though the regulatory stance in our sport is still unchanged. The question is, why?

"I'm not going to get into the pluses or minuses and positives or negatives there," Ratner said when I asked him. "Right now it's illegal."

That's strange, because I would have thought that the "pluses or minuses" would be precisely what determines which substances are illegal and which aren't. As our society begins to change its mind on the issue, shouldn't our sports and regulatory bodies change too?
Source: http://mmajunkie.com/news/31726/ufc-...medium=twitter

What do you think?
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Old 11-21-2012, 01:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I think the Athletic Commissions should have nothing to do with THC levels in a fighters system, it does not enhance the fighters fighting ability in any way.

Therefore it is completely ridiculous that fighters have wins reversed, suspensions and fines for it.
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Old 11-21-2012, 04:53 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I think Marijuana is still not legalized everywhere in the world because the tobacco industry doesn't want it to be. It has less adverse effects than tobacco and no performance enhancing effects.

Therefore I have nothing against athletes who use pot, just don't get high an hour before the competition starts.

edit: ^It seems I kinda stole the beginnings of my sentences from you.
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Old 11-21-2012, 04:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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"It helps me play video games and eat food," Riddle said. "That's what it helps me do."

Worthwhile....
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Old 11-21-2012, 05:03 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Joabbuac View Post
"It helps me play video games and eat food," Riddle said. "That's what it helps me do."

Worthwhile....
Best reason for using pot I've heard so far.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:28 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Hammerlock2.0 View Post
I think Marijuana is still not legalized everywhere in the world because the tobacco industry doesn't want it to be. It has less adverse effects than tobacco and no performance enhancing effects.

Therefore I have nothing against athletes who use pot, just don't get high an hour before the competition starts.

edit: ^It seems I kinda stole the beginnings of my sentences from you.
Agree with this. Also big Pharma companies don't want it legal either. They want to protect the millions and millions they make off pushing dangerous pain killers on people. It is all about who has the money and who lobbies the hardest for what they want.

Instead we keep it on the black market where teenagers and all people get to deal with drug dealers who not only sell weed, but cocaine, heroin, meth...It is odd that they have a "war on drugs", yet by not regulating it they are basically saying "here gangs and drug dealer, you keep making money off this product and we will pretend we are so against the violence that comes with you guys selling it".

Makes no sense. But as long as U.S. federal law has it as illegal, then UFC or any sport will follow suit. They sort of have too.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:43 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Hammerlock2.0 View Post
I think Marijuana is still not legalized everywhere in the world because the tobacco industry doesn't want it to be. It has less adverse effects than tobacco and no performance enhancing effects.

Therefore I have nothing against athletes who use pot, just don't get high an hour before the competition starts.

edit: ^It seems I kinda stole the beginnings of my sentences from you.
It's funny, I just created a thread on a car forum I am on yesterday based on this article:

http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/20/opinio...tml?hpt=hp_bn7

He states that big tobacco wants it legalized because they can so easily introduce the product into their factories. They even have trademarked 'weedy' names and come up with 1/2 tobacco 1/2 weed cigs that they could instantly market as 'weed lite'.

Anyways, in reference to this article, I do partially agree with Matt Riddle, just as I did with Nick Diaz. It is kind of stupid that you can be prescribed much, much worse drugs and it be fine. But at the same time, if you are on Xanex, or Adderall, you are expected to be clean of it by the time you test for a fight. If you get tested between fights it doesn't affect you. I kind of feel that weed should be this way to, but current testing methods detect weed for much longer than those other drugs.

Unless they can get them to change the rules and adapt better testing methods, the rules are the rules. Riddle needs to abide by them while he is fighting or planning to fight. If not, find a new job. It is the same for me and all other adults in the US. Guess what, even though it is legal to smoke weed in CO now most jobs out there still require you to be clean of it and in your contract it says they can randomly test your ass.

So the long and short of it is, you aren't special, these rules apply to almost everyone living within the US, grow the **** up and find a way to deal with it, beat the system, or change the system. It isn't easy, but those are your choices.

Man what a rant.....can anyone tell I have ADHD to?
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:43 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnyg4508 View Post
Agree with this. Also big Pharma companies don't want it legal either. They want to protect the millions and millions they make off pushing dangerous pain killers on people. It is all about who has the money and who lobbies the hardest for what they want.

Instead we keep it on the black market where teenagers and all people get to deal with drug dealers who not only sell weed, but cocaine, heroin, meth...It is odd that they have a "war on drugs", yet by not regulating it they are basically saying "here gangs and drug dealer, you keep making money off this product and we will pretend we are so against the violence that comes with you guys selling it".

Makes no sense. But as long as U.S. federal law has it as illegal, then UFC or any sport will follow suit. They sort of have too.
There is stuff like opiates and whatnot that can be dangerous when used incorrectly (most people don't know how to use meds, but who can blame them, nobody tells them the "do"s and "don't"s, most of the black market stuff is actually medicine... people just abuse it). BUT the pharma industry also makes money on cannabis by SELLING drugs that contain THC. And it's good money because people widely believe that everything that doesn't come from plants is pure evil (by the way, morphine comes from a plant and it's one of the most dangerous painkillers) so a new drug that's based on pot? Oh yes, give me that stuff. Then they realize it's actually not that effective, they're not getting high and the pain is still there so they come back and buy even more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdtcpl View Post
It's funny, I just created a thread on a car forum I am on yesterday based on this article:

http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/20/opinio...tml?hpt=hp_bn7

He states that big tobacco wants it legalized because they can so easily introduce the product into their factories. They even have trademarked 'weedy' names and come up with 1/2 tobacco 1/2 weed cigs that they could instantly market as 'weed lite'.
Who's gonna buy that when a plant is only a few bucks and it's enough for a whole family to get high?
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Old 11-21-2012, 10:40 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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I have a distribution company and recently tried to put a new product into the hands of doctors and chiropractors all over my country. The products were a one time purchase only that offer a new patented way to reduce inflammation in different places on the body and also great for reducing the effects of arthritis.

So anyway I was commissioning a study in my country but we could not get enough chiros and doctors to agree because they said that big pharma pay them X amount of money per year as a "sponsorship". Eg. they will put a poster up in the office and pay them 50K to have that poster there. But this is on the condition that they offer the pharma's products only. The doctors said they could not participate in any study with a new product or recommend a new product or this sponsorship would be withdrawn.
We were talking about a product here that seriously reduces the need for anti inflammatories, and painkillers which Im sure is a massive chunk of money for those companies. Can you imagine all the products and cures out there in the world that these guys are preventing from hitting our shelves to they can keep their bottom line?
Legal marijuana would cost the pharma industry massive amounts of money unless they can lock down the distribution.
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Old 11-21-2012, 01:14 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I know what he means, without it I'm a lazy useless depressed sonofabitch because of genetic disposition to mental illness. On weed I'm productive, healthy and happy. Sure there are people that will abuse and become lethargic lazy assholes but that's not my fault, to me it's a medicine that makes me way more healthy and nothing's going to stop me from taking it because when I went to the doctor he prescribed me 3 different medications all with known serious side effects, I'll take marijuana instead, it works better anyways.

At this point I believe the debate's are over and it's come to the government just flat out not ever being able to stop people. If enough people do it openly the government will be forced to give in, here in Canada there are new laws that seem like they are anti-pot but they are in reality anti-dealer and you can basically grow 5 plants (way more than one person would ever need) and not go to jail for it.

Last edited by rabakill : 11-21-2012 at 01:18 PM.
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