Aurora Cannabis, one of Canada’s largest producers of legal cannabis, has just struck a deal with UFC and will now partner with the world’s flagship MMA league to further their research on CBD, the non-psychoactive component of cannabis.
UFC’s Landmark Partnership
In a joint press release, the cannabis company announced that it will work with fighters and conduct clinical studies on pain management, injury, inflammation, and recovery, as well as mental health and wellness.
“This global partnership places focus squarely on the health and well-being of UFC’s talented and highly trained athletes,” said Aurora Chief Executive Terry Booth. “The Aurora-UFC research partnership creates a global platform to launch targeted educational and awareness campaigns, while creating numerous opportunities to accelerate our global CBD business.”
Last year, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which the UFC uses for drug testing, officially took CBD off of their banned substance list. This is a far cry from some of the earlier days of the Ultimate Fighting League—one in which threatened one of their marquee fighters, Nate Diaz, with a suspension, over the use of a CBD vape pen during a press conference.
According to Yahoo Finance, the research will be conducted by University of Alberta professor Dr. Jason Dyck, a Canada Research Chair in molecular medicine and independent director on Aurora’s board. All research will be conducted UFC’s Performance Institute in Las Vegas, which opened back in 2017.
UFC President Dana White said in the press release that fighters’ health remains a top priority in the organization and that they are excited to utilize CBD to the athletes’ benefit.
“Since the day we opened the Performance Institute, our primary goal was to offer UFC athletes the best possible training, nutrition, and recovery services,” White said. “This partnership with Aurora is an extension of that goal, and we’re looking forward to collaborating with Aurora to find new ways to improve the health and safety of athletes who compete in UFC.”
The move comes on the heels of a similar partnership between their competitor, Canopy Growth and the NHL alumni association. Back in March, Canopy announced they would conduct randomized double-blind tests on around 100 former players to determine whether or not cannabis can help treat a variety of impairments in athletes.
A Continuing Trend
The league has become more progressive with cannabis use, in general, over the years. The WADA essentially tests fighters for cannabis use during a fight, essentially opening the door for use before and after. However, fighters are required to come in under 150 nanograms a milliliter in a urine test, to ensure there is no remaining THC in their body.
UFC vice-president Jeff Novitzky says that most fighters in the league utilize the plant for recovery purposes.
“I’d say the overwhelming majority of our fighters use it. express to me that they get great benefits from it,” Novitzky said to the Globe and Mail.