UFC 225 will take place in Illinois, which is one of the few states with a zero-tolerance policy for marijuana. The situation was so dire that the UFC had to send a letter to warn all of the fighters on the card about weed use (Quotes via Bloody Elbow):
“Because of Illinois’ no tolerance policy for marijuana, we recommend that marijuana use be discontinued for anyone participating on the UFC 225 card between now and the event.”
Plenty of UFC fighters are extremely open about their weed use. Nick and Nate Diaz are both longtime smokers, and actually endorse various vaping and marijuana-based products in their native California, where weed is essentially legalized. UFC newcomer Sean O’Malley was seen mimicking Nate Diaz, pretending to light his weed joint on camera during a live UFC event.
Dozens of UFC fighters have tested positive for weed; some have even had wins turned into no contests because of it. When Nick Diaz and Anderson Silva fought, Diaz tested positive for weed (a subsequent offense) and Silva for performance-enhancing drugs. Diaz ended up with a longer suspension. The consequences are stiff for weed smoking UFC fighters, but that doesn’t stop them from hitting the bong from time to time.
On the UFC 225 card alone, Curtis Blaydes, who faces Alistair Overeem, had tested positive for marijuana after defeating Adam Milstead in Houston, and his victory was overturned to a no contest. On top of that, he was fined and suspended for 90 days.
With Illinois’ draconian weed laws, any UFC fighter caught with marijuana could be severely punished, and could possibly face jail time due to the zero-tolerance policy. Fighters can apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption for marijuana, but they will need a valid prescription for it. Ultimately, it’s at the state’s discretion as to who gets granted such exemptions.
UFC 225 will take place in Chicago on June 9th and will feature a middleweight title fight between Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero in a rematch of their UFC 213 fight last year.