Kelvin Gastelum Sanctioned By USADA

Photo by @kgastelum on IG

UFC middleweight contender Kelvin Gastelum has tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive substance in marijuana. There is a limit on the level of cannabinoids an athlete’s sample is able to have, however Gastelum was over the regulated amount under the UFC Anti-Doping Policies. Test results were from a sample collected during UFC 244, on November 3, 2019, when Gastelum competed against Darren Till in New York. Gastelum fought a great fight, he did’t look high or anything, but he lost by split decision. The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) suspended Gastelum for 9 months, but the penalty was reduced to 5 months due to Gastelum successfully completing a drug treatment program. This isn’t the first time Gastelum got popped for marijuana; the middleweight was suspended in 2017 for the same violation when he went up against Vitor Belfort in Brazil at UFC Fight Night, Belfort vs. Gastelum. Gastelum originally won the fight via TKO punches, however the bout was overturned to a no contest when USADA sample test results came back positive. Are the UFC Anti Doping Policies too strict? Is there anyway Gastelum, or any other fighters for that matter, is getting an edge over his opponents by getting high subsequently before a match or during training? I guess it all depends on what kind of strain is the marijuana. Some strains are known to have cerebral effects enhancing mind coordination and concentration taking athletes to another level which is an obvious advantage, but if it were all legal then the playing field would allow everyone to dabble within the elements. Just my thoughts however marijuana, as we all know, is not a steroid and is considered legal throughout many parts of the world including California, the same state Gastelum was born in. I think the UFC Anti Doping Policies are way too strict and should reconsider cannabinoids as being legal and also accepted within the combat sports community.