A rising star in the UFC welterweight division, Matthew Riddle is a legally prescribed marijuana user in the state of Nevada. Unfortunately for Riddle, no athletic commission in the U.S. will acknowledge the prescription use for a sanctioned fight.
“If you ask me I’m 8-3. I’m not 7-3-1, I’m 8-3,” the welterweight fighter told MMAmania.com. “And if you watch the tape I don’t think you’d argue with that. You know I dropped him with a liver kick, I hit him with a standing arm-triangle and you know, it was a very dominant performance.”
Riddle is referring to the victory over Chirs Clements at UFC 149, which was overturned, due to a positive test for marijuana.
“I think it’s really unfortunate they took a hard-earned win from me that I took on a week’s notice and I did everything in my power to pass that drug test, I’ve never failed a drug test in my life until that day and that was never my intention. So it does suck, but at the same time I’ll never forget that win. It was a great experience, a great feeling and I made $100,000 in one night, so you tell me who’s the winner if that’s a no contest.”
The fight would have made it three straight for the 26-year-old, including a last minute step-up against John Maguire at this past UFC 154 event, in which he dominated the fight, earning a unanimous decision.
“[Marijuana] makes me honestly, for a guy like me I’ve explained it to other people, I’m very high strung,” he said. “You can ask anybody who hangs out with me, when I’m not on my medicine — not that I’m hard to be around, but I’m very intense. You say something stupid I’ll (expletive) let you know, I go off. You know, I’m very, it’s almost like a New York minute, I’m very fast, I’m right to the point, I’m in your face. Like right now, ba-da-ba-ba, I’m talking very fast. I like to slow it down, I like to be normal, I like to be like a normal person and right now it’s like I’m on edge.”
“If I didn’t just get out of the cage I’d want to beat the (expletive) out of somebody just for no reason. And that’s just how I’m wired, and I don’t like it. I like being the nice guy. So when I use, I’m a very nice guy and everybody around me loves me more. I’m just a much more pleasant person to be around.”
As of now, Riddle will need to continue to ‘cycle’ his prescription as one would do with any other substance they do not want to show on a drug test.
“The unfortunate part is, you know, in this world, you know, people are okay if you take Xanax, testosterone and all these other drugs as long as a doctor prescribes them. But, if you’re prescribed medical marijuana, you know, because of your issues, it’s not acceptable and they really frown upon it.”
“I hope, you know, two states already legalized it in America and I just hope they really turn it around.”
When the UFC travels outside of the country to location with no commission in place, they take it upon themselves to test and hand out penalties for failed drug tests. That’s when the UFC’s Regulatory Affairs department steps in.
The UFC’s President of Regulatory Affairs, Mark Ratner does have a slightly more relaxed attitude towards Marijuana use over say anabolic Steroids. For marijuana use, Ratner feels that a rehab program with shortened suspension is fair.
“Right now, I think in every state, it’s illegal to fight with [marijuana] in your system,” Ratner said. “If you did it three or four months ago that’s one thing, but if you’re smoking within the week of the fight that’s going to show. And my feeling is there can be a suspension, but my feeling is there should also be a rehab system that’s been talked about.”
“I’m not going to get into the pluses or minuses or positives and negatives of it, but right now it’s illegal.“