Nate Diaz has helped mold the fight game with his brutal honesty and never shying away from how he feels.
In fact, the younger Diaz brother was the catalyst to make some changes to the UFC and the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) regulations, according to UFC Vice President of Athletic Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky.
Speaking recently on the JRE MMA Show #9 podcast, Novitzky explained how Diaz’s honesty with telling the media he was smoking a CBD vape pen at the UFC 202 post-fight press conference lit up change for the sport.
“A big point of contention I have with athletic commissions, really, really frustrated, and that’s the marijuana rules,” Novitzky stated (transcribed by Jeff Cain for MMA Weekly).
“When Nate fought Conor, I think the second time, (Diaz) goes to the press conference after and takes out a vape pen. And someone asked him what he was doing and he said it was CBD. At the time, the rule was, the in-competition period where CBD was prohibited lasted until four hours after the conclusion of the fight. He was clearly within that time period. USADA contacted me and said, ‘hey, technically, Nate was in violation to this.’ I said, ‘hey, look, this was not the intent of the rule,’” Novitzky explained.
Novitzky stated that the four-hour after competition rule was put in place just in case for some reason USADA would not be able to collect a sample from the fighter immediately after their fight. With not ever facing that issue, the rule was changed.
“The in competition period ends with a collection immediately after the fight or USADA has a reasonable amount of time after the fight,” said Novitzky.
In addition to the competition time period of testing athletes, WADA also changed their CBD rule, which went into effect at the start of 2018.
“That was actually a rule change. The WADA prohibited list, which we follow, took it completely off the prohibited list,” stated Novitzky. “They could do it in training. It was only prohibited in-competition, so weigh-in day and fight day (it was prohibited). Now it’s been completely taken off the list and it’s okay to use it any time.”
The UFC Vice President of Athletic Health and Performance went on to recall a classic story involving Nate and Yancy Medeiros about a month after explaining to Nate how the rules changed in big part due to him and often refer to it as the “Nate Diaz rule.”
“So, I’m talking to Yancy and all of a sudden Nate goes, ‘Hey Jeff! Man, tell Yancy about my USADA rule. I got a USADA rule named after me dog.’”
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/9/2018.