This past weekend, the first professional MMA card took place in Canada since the COVID-19 shutdown.
RiseFC 6 took place in Victoria, BC on March 13, 2021. The BC Athletic Commission was the first Canadian commission to resume operations, hopefully paving the way for other Provinces to get professional combative sports back on track.
The main event featured two UFC vets facing off with Elias Theodorou securing a 3rd round TKO victory over Matt Dwyer.
Perhaps more noteworthy than the return of the sport, this was the first bout in professional combat sports history with a combatant competing with a therapeutic use exemption for in-competition medical cannabis.
The BC Athletic Commission uses the WADA prohibited list for anti-doping along with WADA standards when approving TUEs. WADA prohibits cannabis in competition with deemed use occurring when measureable THC metabolites exceed the 150 ng/mL threshold. Many regular cannabis users can exceed this threshold even when abstaining from consumption during the fight day in-competition window.
The TUE granted by the BC commission allowed Theodorou to continue to lawfully use his prescribed medication out of competition without fear of failing this in-competition threshold. The TUE does not allow an athlete to compete impaired rather it is a safeguard to prevent lawful out of competition medical use being deemed an in-competition rules violation. This historic precedent set by Theodorou could help pave the way for other athletic commissions to adopt sensible reforms in how they regulate cannabis in combat sports.