My Public Comments for the Nevada State Athletic Commission

Two regulatory topics that I have been vocal about that can benefit from reform in Nevada are their methods for determining in competition marijuana use and the apparent loophole that exists for blood doping in the State.  You can click here and here for my prior discussion of these issues.

I have submitted the below public comment to the Nevada State Athletic Commission and am advised by the Commission that these have been given “to the recording secretary it will be placed in public comment.” for their next regulatory hearing scheduled on October 29, 2015.

I don’t expect immediate comment but the NSAC is looking at regulatory reform in the upcoming months and hopefully these items receive scrutiny.  I republish these here for anyone interested –

  1. Review of the marijuana metabolite screening system is warranted.  Marijuana, alcohol and other so called ‘drugs of abuse’ are banned ‘in competition’ in the combat sports world for the safety of the fighter consuming them.  No regulator will allow a fighting athlete to compete while impaired and little argument can be made against this objective.  To this end commissions largely rely on metabolite screening in urine tests which do nothing to determine if an athlete is impaired on marijuana while competing.  These tests only show that marijuana was consumed some time in the past.  Various jurisdictions set artificial thresholds which, if exceeded, are deemed to be a violation of the in competition ban but these again do not measure sobriety

A far more sensible approach would be to rely on the integrity of pre bout medical screenings.  Physicians are present at regulated events.  It would take little time and effort for a once over to ensure no competitor is about to fight while showing signs of impairment.  If a fighter is not objectively impaired in any way and satisfies physicians present then the regulator’s legitimate safety concerns are meaningfully met.  Allowing a bout to take place, on the other hand, and finding traces of substances that could have been consumed days or weeks prior, is disingenuous,  misses this objective and is a practice which regulators should seriously consider re-evaluating.

  1. Clarity is requested on whether IV Use and Blood Doping are allowed by your Commission – Nevada legislation is not clear on whether IV use is prohibited and arguably it is not. NAC 467.850 sets out Nevada’s anti-doping scheme.  Interestingly while IV use is prohibited under the World Anti Doping Agency’s standards, this prohibition does not seem to be specifically adopted in Nevada. Nevada’s regulations name a list of specific banned substances and then go on to also prohibit “Any drug identified on the most current edition of the Prohibited List published by the World Anti-Doping Agency”.

WADA’s Prohibited List essentially breaks down to two broad categories, prohibited substances and prohibited methods.  The above language (assuming “drug” = “substances”) clearly adopts WADA’s prohibited substances list.  However, the language does not appear to include WADA’s prohibited methods which include things such as blood doping, IV use and gene doping.

Nevada’s peculiar regulations appear to specifically allow “injections” with NAC 467.850(3) listing “injections” that are not prohibited but simply “discouraged” and subsection 4 listing “injections” that are allowed which include saline, a substance routinely used in IV rehydration.  Clarity on this important issue is requested.  In short, are blood doping and IV rehydration prohibited by your commission and if so please point out the legislative provision that makes this prohibition clear?

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