Nate Diaz and Jake Paul will face off in the boxing ring on August 5 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The eight-round pay-per-view (PPV) event on Showtime is Diaz’s professional boxing debut following his decorated career in mixed martial arts (MMA) as a UFC fighter.
Diaz was denied a request for an exemption from the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation (TDLR). The TDLR has a zero-tolerance policy for cannabis use, but Diaz’s manager Zach Rosenfield requested an exemption.
Questions arose whether the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA)—an organization that provides anti-doping practices and programs in boxing and mixed martial arts—may supersede the TLDR, MMA Fighting first reported. A TDLR spokesperson told Steven Marrocco of MMA Fighting that Diaz will be subject to the same rules as everyone else in combative sports.
For the time being, it looks like Diaz will still be screened for THC.
“We will be working with VADA on testing prior to the fight and will be in compliance with all VADA rules, as well as the rules and regulations set forth by TDLR,” Real Fight, Inc. President and Diaz manager Zach Rosenfield told High Times.
Many professional athletes know what they can and cannot get away with regarding drug testing for pot, and the timing involved. “We gonna be testing,” Diaz told reporters at a press conference, referring to the drug test sample. “There’s a lot of weed in [my system]. There is.”
Diaz taunted Paul on Twitter, to which the former YouTuber fired back. “You speaking to me Nathan?” Paul said, responding to Diaz’s tweet. “We haven’t forgotten that you tested positive for steroids. You and your boyfriend Connor are juice heads. Let’s do 15 rounds and see how good those cannabis corroded lungs are. VADA going to be coming to Stockton to slap you up.”
If it were a UFC fight, the request might have resulted in a different outcome. The U.S Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) adopted guidelines to no longer punish UFC fighters when THC is detected in a drug test in 2021.
In addition to mandatory drug tests from TDLR, Diaz and Paul will likely provide samples to the VADA both before and after their boxing match in Dallas.
Everything is on the line, at least for Paul’s boxing career. A surprise knockout by Tommy “The Truth” Fury on February 26 in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, cost a lot of bettors money. That makes Paul 6-1 in the boxing ring, beating AnEsonGib, Nate Robinson, Ben Askren, and Tyron Woodley twice.
Paul has been subject to drug tests multiple times since his transformation from a YouTube star (along with his brother Logan) to boxing. Paul did not like a question during an interview ahead of the Diaz fight by a reporter who suggested he is not destined for the Hall of Fame.
“See, I’ve done more for the sport than any boxer in current history,” Paul said. “What has Floyd Mayweather done for women’s boxing? The list goes on. I’ve changed the whole entire game, brought a new 70 million followers to the sport and put on bigger pay-per-views than some of these Hall of Fame guys. Ryan Garcia-Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis, 800,000 pay-per-views. Me vs. Tommy, 830,000. So, you wanna talk about Hall of Famers? You wanna talk about resume? Yeah, I’m building it up, buddy. I just got started in this game. This is my eighth fight and I’m fighting Nate Diaz, one of the biggest MMA fighters in history. So, yeah, that’s my resume.”
Diaz and his brother Nick have spoken out regarding pot reform for years. The two eventually launched Game Up® Nutrition, a plant-based wellness company providing products loaded with cannabinoids, adaptogens, and superfoods.
Over a decade ago Nick told the Los Angeles Times his cleansing method before a drug test. This followed a technical knockout (TKO) win over Frank Shamrock back in 2009, who is also an outspoken cannabis advocate.