Recently, the news was released in the sports media that the famous UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) fighter Kelvin Gastelum had been withdrawn from one of the most anticipated matches of the season after having tested positive in an anti-doping control for surprise.
At the moment the Mexican fighter has only been temporarily suspended so he will lose the opportunity to face the Brazilian Anderson Silva on June 3, but it will be the UFC organization that decides in the coming weeks without the behavior of the fighter deserves a more severe penalty.
A positive that throws the best fight in history to the ground
Kelvin Gastelum had become one of the most promising names in the UFC, but for just over a month the fame of this famous Mexican fighter is not in his victories but in the fact that he has become one of the new victims of USADA, the North American anti-doping agency that operates as a non-governmental and non-profit organization.
During a surprise control carried out by the agency last March, samples of the athlete were collected that have yielded positive data on the existence of Carboxy-THC, one of the cannabinoids present in marijuana. The problem has not only been to find traces of THC in Gastelum’s body but also to verify that these exceeded the limit of 180 ng / mL allowed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). For all these reasons, the USADA imminently decreed the temporary suspension of the athlete, which means that he will not be present in the fight against Brazilian Anderson Silva on June 3 in Rio de Janeiro.
This was one of the most anticipated matches of the season. After Gastelum’s latest victories, the Mexican was presented as one of the UFC’s favorites, with a promising career as a fighter. This little slip with marijuana use has been a career bump for the moment, but it could have even greater consequences if the UFC decides to apply measures in relation to its own anti-doping policy.
On the other hand, we must not forget that the samples of these surprise tests were collected just after the recent victory of Gastelum in Fortaleza (Brazil) on March 11 against Vitor Belfort and that therefore the Brazilian MMA Athletics Commission (CABMMA), based on the data provided by the USADA, will also have to make a decision about the validity of said combat and the triumph of Gastelum or void the victory as a result of this apparent violation of international anti-doping policy.
While the case is being prepared and in order to guarantee the young fighter all the fair rights of his prosecution, he has been provisionally withdrawn from the professional circuit and a replacement is being sought for this historic fight in Rio de Janeiro. Although the most common thing would be for Gastelum’s defense to request a Test B, the most logical thing is that the match against Belfort would be recorded as No Contest and that the wrestler will eventually face a suspension of up to one year.
Athletes and marijuana
Like any other drug, cannabis has repercussions on athletes, both physically and mentally, for which its use is penalized by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA, for its acronym in English) from 180 ng / mL.
It might seem that consuming cannabis is a very personal decision and that athletes should also have full freedom to do so if they deem it appropriate, but judging by the consequences that marijuana use can have on the body, perhaps yes It is understandable that these types of international institutions have to be so strict on this type of issue.
Establishing a limit between when cannabis is consumed for pure pleasure and when it is done to obtain some kind of advantage over your rivals is much more complicated than setting a ban that limits all cases equally. It may be an unfair measure but on a practical level it is probably the only one that WADA has considered truly operational.
One of the most significant changes in terms of sport and cannabis use occurred during the last Olympics, which was when WADA decided update THC levels in doping controls raising them considerably to somewhat more permissive limits. However, the consumption of marijuana is strictly prohibited during competitions, at the risk that athletes may be suspended in a fulminant way if they are hunted with a joint in the sports facilities or in the Olympic Villages during the celebration of these events.
It is believed that cannabis can help athletes improve their endurance in physical events or increase their lung capacity. There are also those who resort to it as an efficient anti-inflammatory method. For these reasons, the World Anti-Doping Agency considers that the consumer of marijuana can play with an advantage over their rivals and is obliged to put restrictions that, however, are much less severe with respect to other types of totally prohibited substances.
Not in vain, many associations in the field of sports fight for cannabis to stop being considered a doping substance since from a fairly objective and rigorous point of view it is not comparable to other drugs. There are many cases of athletes who have been penalized for marijuana use and that despite everything they continued their career normally, enjoying cannabis in their leisure time as anyone else could. Among the most popular cases we could mention those of the North American swimmer Michael Phelps, the Spanish gymnast Gervasio Deferr or Usain Bolt himself.