Cannabis advocate, MMA icon and the world’s first cannabis-sanctioned pro athlete, Elias Theodorou is fighting to break the stigma. In a historic moment Elias took home the victory for his team and cannabis athletes around the globe. Immediately after winning, Elias shared a message for his fans and the sports cannabis community on Instagram;
“We came. We saw. We conquered.“-E Theodorou, Professional MMA Fighter/IG
Early in his career, Elias sustained multiple injuries that ultimately led him to incorporate Cannabis for recovery and relief. In January 2020, he became the first athlete to receive a therapeutic use exemption for medical cannabis from the British Columbia Athletic Commission. Today, Elias is breaking barriers for athletes around the world;
“Beyond ecstatic to share I was victorious this weekend not only against a very game opponent, but helping to end the prohibition of cannabis in US athletics. My fight, rather my win set precedent for all athletes in Colorado to apply for their own right to use medical cannabis in competition. An achievement I plan to help grow in the new year after my discussions with many other fighters and their interest in being able to medicate as prescribed. That’s what this fight was all about – knocking out the previous barriers and stigmas surrounding the use of medical cannabis. Today it’s Colorado, tomorrow it’s the world. Your fight is my fight and I’m only getting started in my journey #FightingTheStigma“-E Theodorou, Professional MMA Fighter/IG
In April of 2020, Sports Cannabis had the opportunity to connect with Elias Theodorou for an interview to take a deep dive into his training regiment, cannabis routine and explore the profound effects cannabis has had on his life.
Listen to his interview on Sports Cannabis today;
Cannabis and the MMA
The Sports Cannabis landscape is evolving at a rapid pace with states adopting new policies and pushing for acceptance. In early July 2021, the Nevada State Athletic Commission declared Cannabis was not a performance enhancing drug, officially legalizing it for MMA Athletes. Voting to lift a lifelong ban on Athletes using Cannabis, the state of Nevada opened their doors to boxers & mixed martial artists competing at the highest level on the biggest stages.
For decades the Nevada State Athletic Commission that regulated combat sports in the state, had taken a hardline approach to cannabis, banning it entirely from all competitive use. The strict rules and policies sidelined many Pro MMA careers, pushing them to pharmaceuticals, opioids and painkillers. For years athletes have advocated for clean alternatives to help cope with recovery and relief, citing Opioids/Painkillers as addictive with detrimental long term side effects. The commission announced it would continue to test for cannabis for an additional 6 months without penalty as a part of a study into head trauma.
“We should always be at the forefront of these issues, I believe it’s warranted and merited since it is legal in this state. … I think we need to jump forward, being the leader as we’ve always been.”-NSAC Chairman Stephen J. Cloobeck
MMA Athletes Advocating for Change
In recent years we have seen current and retired professional MMA athletes like Ian McCall, Liz Carmouche and Nate Diaz advocate for cannabis.
Retired UFC/MMA World Champion, Cannabis/Psychedelic Advocate, Ian McCall is paving the path for athletes and patients outside of the octagon, fighting for change and using his platform to break the stigma. Ian’s dedicated his life to spreading education, moving Cannabis and Psychedelic research forward as well as creating unique content in an effort to provide a ripple of laughter, joy and humour to the Cannabis/Psychedelic conversation.
Liz “Girl-Rilla” Carmouche is a Bellator MMA legend with career highlights that include; competing for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in Women’s Flyweight and Women’s Bantamweight divisions. Before turning her attention to MMA, Liz spent five years in the Marine Corps as an aviation electrician and completed three tours of duty. She is a constant force and continues to move the sports cannabis conversation forward, advocating for CBD education and awareness.
In June 2021, Nate Diaz made history coming back to the UFC. During the press conference amidst fan hysteria and reporter questions, Nate took a moment to shed light on a plant that’s played a pivotal role in his life, taking a few puffs -putting Cannabis on the front stage at the UFC.
“You know what’s crazy to me, the best part about the whole thing is…I got kicked out of school for fight and selling weed. And now for a professional career I’m fighting and selling CBD…It all worked out, I never thought it was bad to begin with. I thought it was all positive, productive. I don’t think people should be going out and smoking weed. I don’t want to put that look out or anything. But as an athlete, I think you should be smoking marijuana, if you choose to do something to help you get through the day, instead of sticking a bunch of steroids in your ass and taking a bunch of faulty supplements.”-Nate Diaz. Pro MMA Fighter/ Forbes
The trend towards normalizing cannabis is not specific to one country. Athletes around the world are taking part in a global Sports Cannabis movement to end prohibition and change the conversation.
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