Texas officials will force UFC champion Nate Diaz to take a THC test before he competes in his first-ever boxing match.
Diaz has already earned worldwide notoriety as a mixed martial arts fighter, but this summer, he is stepping into the boxing ring for his first pro match. On August 5th, the UFC champ will take on Jake Paul, the YouTube star-turned-boxer, in an eight-round pay-per-view match. Before the fight takes place, Diaz – who is just about as renowned for his love of cannabis as he is for fighting – requested an exemption from Texas' standard pot testing policies.
Sports authorities have traditionally included cannabis in the long list of drugs that pro athletes are regularly tested for, but times are changing. In recent years, the NFL, MLB, and the NBA have all chilled out their pot testing rules for players. The UFC also stopped punishing players for positive weed tests in 2021, and the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA), which oversees drug testing rules for boxing and martial arts, has followed suit.
But although the UFC may have relaxed its pot prohibition policies, Texas hasn't. The Lone Star State still bans even the medicinal use of cannabis, even though the majority of Texans support legalization. These conflicting policies created some confusion over whether VADA's chill pot testing rules would take precedence over Texas' strict policies, though. To clarify the matter, Diaz' manager Zach Rosenfield requested that his client be exempted from the state's pre-game cannabis testing rule.
Last week, the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation (TDLR) hit back with a firm “no.” It's looking like both Diaz and Paul will be tested for THC, along with other prohibited drugs, both before and after the match. “We will be working with VADA on testing prior to the fight and will be in compliance with all VADA rules, as well as the rules and regulations set forth by TDLR,” Rosenfield told High Times.
Paul used the occasion to taunt Diaz about his former history of failing drug tests. “We haven’t forgotten that you tested positive for steroids,” he wrote. “You and your boyfriend Connor are juice heads. Let’s do 15 rounds and see how good those cannabis-corroded lungs are. VADA going to be coming to Stockton to slap you up.”
At a recent press conference, Diaz told reporters that he was still getting as high as ever. “There’s a lot of weed in [my system],” he said, according to High Times. “There is.” But even so, he seemed willing to accept Texas’ decision on the matter. “We gonna be testing.”
Diaz is probably trying to avoid getting suspended from fighting like his older brother Nick, who is also a decorated MMA champion. Back before the UFC chilled out on its weed testing rules, officials suspended Nick from fighting for five whole years.