The UFC recently announced an eight-year partnership with Aurora Cannabis to promote fighter wellness and lessen the dependency on pain pills and opioids.
Las Vegas, NV – “For people who deal with chronic pain, it’s groundbreaking,” said UFC President Dana White. “I just had shoulder surgery, rotator cuff surgery, and I was going through physical therapy. The physical therapists are using CBD oil. I had never done it before and the physical therapist was using it on me.”
This revelation from Dana White came just moments after the UFC held a press conference at the UFC Apex with their newest partner, Aurora Cannabis. The 8-year deal between the companies will potentially result in the most comprehensive, in-depth and long-term scientific medical research that has ever been conducted on hemp-based cannabidiol (CBD), which is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant.
“It’s the future. This is the future,” said White. “When I did it, I didn’t take any pain pills. I’d rather do that than pain pills. If this is a viable option, and the research is out there that this can help athletes – or any human being that’s in pain, I believe this is the future. And you know us, we’re always the first to dive in and figure it out.”
Jeff Novitzky was also in attendance and he spoke at the press conference as well as the media scrum that followed. “Our athletes are using CBD in lieu of opioids, things like Xanax, or sleeping aids like Ambien. Certainly, from a common-sense point of view, a synthetic drug versus chemical compound from a plant is probably going to be a lot healthier and safer for you,” said Novitzky. “Anecdotally, and that’s why we’re doing the scientific research, but anecdotally, the feedback’s been really positive.”
One of the concerns of this partnership is that fighters have been suspended for marijuana use in the past. Novitzky assured that this will not be an issue if fighters stick to CBD products, saying, “You heard today that this is a hemp-derived CBD. The definition of hemp is a cannabis plant with less than 0.03-percent [THC] so most of it has zero. They allow for a little leeway. At 0.03-percent, A.) it’s not going to cause a positive drug test at our threshold of 150 nanograms/milliliter. B.) it’s going to have any impairment value. THC in the cannabis plant is what impairs you. It’s what gets the individual high who consumed it. It literally has no THC in it. Only CBD.”
This is a big step forward for fighter wellness and another innovative step on the drug front by the UFC.