This UFC heavyweight could be the last MMA fighter to be suspended, fined for cannabis use in Nevada
By Sam Riches
Despite the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NAC) announcing in July that it would no longer discipline boxers and MMA fighters for cannabis use, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight Chris Barnett has been handed a 4.5-month suspension and a US$1,036.80 ($1,313.16) fine following a positive cannabis test.
The penalty stems from Barnett’s UFC debut fight against Ben Rothwell on May 22, reports MMA Fighting. Despite NAC changing its approach to pot more than two months ago, the new rules do not apply to retroactive cases.
Alongside Barnett, two other fighters, Rodrigo Nascimento and Daniel Pineda, are also facing suspensions for failed drug tests, though their cases relate to banned stimulants.
According to MMA Fighting, Barnett could be the last fighter to be suspended for cannabis use by the state of Nevada.
Before the rule change, NAC consistently punished fighters with fines, suspensions and overturned victories for positive cannabis tests, despite the UFC and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) reforming their approach to pot earlier this year.
“By sanctioning on marijuana, I really think we are pushing these athletes to drugs that are even more dangerous,” Jeff Novitzky, the UFC’s senior vice president of athlete health and performance, said last October.