pat-healy-11.jpg(This story appears in today’s edition of USA TODAY.)

Pat Healy has spent the last four months or so trying to make the best of a pretty bad situation.

The only problem has been, there’s really no way around turning a $130,000 negative into much of a positive. That’s how much a few puffs of pot cost Healy when a drug test after his win against Jim Miller was red-flagged because of marijuana metabolites.

Healy (29-16 MMA, 0-1 UFC) upset Miller at UFC 159 in April, and he won two $65,000 bonuses (for the night’s best submission and best fight) in the process. But when the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board announced the test came back positive for pot, the bonuses were rescinded, as was arguably the most important win of Healy’s career.

Healy returns from a 90-day suspension Saturday to face lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov (20-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) at UFC 165 in Toronto (pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET), and he’ll do so with plenty of eyes on him.

In the months since Healy’s suspension, he has, perhaps unwittingly, become the poster boy for changing attitudes about marijuana use in MMA.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission, which is considered the standard-bearer in MMA regulation, this month raised the threshold for marijuana metabolites from 50mL to 150mL. Before it was 50mL, it was as low as 15mL — leaving pretty much no room for error.

Healy said he smoked marijuana socially about a month before the fight, but he still failed the test.

“I do kind of feel like I got shot to that spot where they use my incident as the case study for the rules being changed,” Healy told USA TODAY Sports and MMAjunkie.com. “I do feel it’s a step in the right direction, and I don’t feel like it should be treated like a (performance- enhancing drug).

“I think you should have to stay within the rules, but with the way Nevada does it, and a few other commissions have followed suit — that’s the proper way to handle it, just focusing on things that are going to affect the outcome of the fight.”

Getting public opinion behind him hasn’t been very difficult. That seems to have fallen in line with America’s largely relaxing attitudes about marijuana use in general.

However, the UFC didn’t give Healy an easy task in his first fight back after the suspension.

Healy is a 2-1 underdog against Nurmagomedov. And like before the Miller fight, Healy thinks he’s being overlooked.

Healy, ranked No. 9 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie.com MMA lightweight rankings, is treating the Miller no-contest as a win and says an upset of No. 15 Nurmagomedov will open a lot of eyes and put attention on him for reasons that have nothing to do with lighting up.

“(Nurmagomedov) may not be taking me lightly, but he said he’s better than me everywhere,” Healy said. “That’s something that triggers me: ‘OK, he thinks he’s better than me everywhere. We’ll see what happens during the fight.’

“I think a good win here will definitely change people’s minds. Coupled with the last fight with Jim Miller, I don’t think they can deny I’m a top guy in the UFC.”

For complete coverage of UFC 165, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Julianna Pena cleared to resume UFC career following assault allegations

  • 29 days ago
  • 14 views

The UFC today announced it has completed an investigation into allegations of assault by women’s bantamweight Julianna Pena and reinstated “The Ultimate Fighter 18” winner, freeing her to resume her read news >>

Correia vs. Pennington now set to close out UFC on FOX 19's UFC Fight Pass prelims

  • 28 days ago
  • 27 views

This month’s UFC on FOX 19 lineup got a small shakeup, and it’s resulted in a new bout to close out the UFC Fight Pass prelims.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Michael Bisping blasts Yoel Romero's 6-month suspension: 'He could have killed somebody'

  • 28 days ago
  • 76 views

Michael Bisping is one of the more outspoken critics of performance-enhancing-drug users – especially in his own division – and he had a scathing critique of fellow middleweight Yoel Romero.Filed und read news >>

UFC strawweight Paige VanZant recaps Episode No. 3 of 'Dancing with the Stars'

  • 28 days ago
  • 6 views

On Monday, UFC strawweight Paige VanZant returned on Season 22 of “Dancing with the Stars.” Today, she talked to MMAjunkie about her appearance on the season’s third episode.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie Rankings, April 5: WSOF champ Branch keeps rolling

  • 28 days ago
  • 6 views

Since a brief run in the UFC, two-division WSOF champ David Branch has become one of the sport’s top fighters competing outside the octagon. Filed under: Bellator, MMA Rankings, News, UFC, WSOF read news >>

According to Tony Ferguson, UFC on FOX 19 withdrawal might've saved his life

  • 27 days ago
  • 574 views

According to Tony Ferguson, his decision to pull out of this month’s UFC on FOX 19 headliner might’ve just saved his life.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Conor McGregor Taking Nate Diaz Seriously, Begins Training for UFC 200 Rematch

  • 27 days ago
  • 1244 views

It may be three months before UFC 200 arrives, but featherweight champion Conor McGregor has already begun training for his rematch against Nate Diaz. read news >>

ONE Championship 42 takes shape with 125, 145 titles on the line in Thailand

  • 27 days ago
  • 2 views

The card for next month’s “ONE Championship 42: Kingdom of Champions” has started to take shape with a pair of title fights at the top of the card.Filed under: News read news >>

Jan Blachowicz putting past behind, seeks reinvention following consecutive defeats

  • 26 days ago
  • 3 views

ZAGREB, Croatia – Sure, the past 12 months have been largely forgettable for Jan Blachowicz, but the Polish light heavyweight insists he’s taken steps to change all that.Filed under: Featured Videos, read news >>

Video: Watch today's UFC Q&A with Barnett, Hardy and Cirkunov at 10:30 a.m. ET

  • 24 days ago
  • 10 views

ZAGREB, Croatia – Prior to today’s UFC Fight Night 86 fighter weigh-ins, you can watch a live fan Q&A with Josh Barnett, Dan Hardy and Misha Cirkunov here on MMAjunkie at 10:30 a.m. ET (7:30 a.m. PT) read news >>