Las Vegas, NV — You could say that UFC 264’s Niko Price is the victim of bad timing.
Price (14-4, 2NC) saw a majority draw last year against Cowboy Cerrone overturned to a No Contest thanks to a positive drug test for Carboxy THC, an active competent of marijuana.
Earlier today, news broke that Nevada would no longer be testing for marijuana as the drug is not considered performance enhancing, but rather a drug of abuse. The rule change coming just as Price returns to action is coincidental more than anything, of course — but he’s yet another reminder of a ridiculous rule that has plagued athletes in multiple sports for decades.
“This is silly,” Price acknowledged during the UFC 264 media day on Wednesday, when the rule change was brought up. “It doesn’t matter anymore, I completely quit. I’ve been sober almost since the beginning of the break.”
It was the positive test, in fact, that caused him to clean up his act. “It opened my eyes to how much money I spent on it, how much money I had to pay the commissions, and yeah, I’m just a better person now. More hyper. More hyper than I have been. My cardio’s on a different level, my precision is on a different level, and I’m hitting hard.”
Price, however, is far from the last victim of Nevada’s drug testing policy. While USADA has also eased up on marijuana testing as more and more corners of the globe decriminalize the drug, the NSAC did uphold several retroactive suspensions on Wednesday. That means Gillian Robertson and Misha Cirkunov will both be hit with fines.
As for Price, he has a bout with Michel Pereira this Saturday to look forward to. And the goal is simple: “I want the belt. I’m coming hot. I’m a new me, and I’m excited.” In regards to Pereira specifically and his antics, “that’s cool,” said Price. “The more you antagonize me, the harder I want to hit you. So let’s do it.”
Watch the full UFC 264 media day scrum with Niko Price above. The event takes place this Saturday, July 10 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.