Sports Industry Meet Cannabis - The UFC & CBD.

Could CBD help the next generation of athletes? Could it become a staple in the sports world?

Before recent years, you would never have heard the words- cannabis and athlete, in the same sentence, unless it was a news headline about some sort of scandal. Slowly the world is accepting CBD and it’s beneficial effects, one industry at a time. And this is evident in the sports industry, where they are beginning to open their minds and doors to CBD, and the benefits it can have on their athletes. This can only be a good thing for all athletes from up and coming, to veterans.

The UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) is a mixed martial arts promotion company, the company and more importantly, the fighters are known for being innovative and unafraid to push boundaries. They continue to do so as they join the CBD revolution- being one of the first in the sports industry to jump into this revolution with both feet.
In 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) lifted cannabidiol from its banned substances list, which means sportspeople are now allowed to use CBD, and it seems the mixed martial arts (MMA) world are leading the way. Before the ban was lifted, some fighters advocated its use, most notably the Diaz brothers- Nick and Nate. Nick and Nate Diaz are two UFC fighters who promote a more eco and green lifestyle. As well as promoting the medical and recreational use of cannabis, they also promote practising jujitsu daily and gluten-free diets. They are not the only fighters who have joined the cause in how CBD can help athletes, and it is not just the athletes who are joining this revolution but the companies behind them as well, such as the two biggest MMA fight leagues- Bellator and the UFC, both of them affiliating themselves with CBD companies.

At a recent open workout ahead of the UFC 241 fight, Nate Diaz publicly smoked CBD- making it very clear where he stands on the use of this cannabinoid. The fan favourite did this ahead of his return to the octagon since fighting Conor Mcgregor. Diaz previously openly smoked CBD after his defeat to Conor Mcgregor when the substance was still on the Anti-doping Agency’s banned substances list. Nate’s brother, Nick was previously banned for five-years in 2013 after failing a drug test for marijuana metabolites after his loss to Anderson Silva. Nick then went onto appeal the failed drug test and was able to get the five-year ban reduced to 18 months with a hefty fine. Although he has not fought since UFC 183.

This revolution is approaching and is coming for the men and women who sacrifice their bodies for the sport. Obviously, the UFC only represent a small part of the sports industry but it reflects the growth in acceptance and understanding of CBD and its beneficial effects. Although the UFC may have joined this revolution, we are slowly seeing athletes from other sports including golf, swimming, NFL, and rugby, jumping on this band-wagon and showing their support.