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 But when the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board announced the test came back positive for pot, the bonuses were rescinded, as was arguably the most important win of Healy’s career.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.
From Around the Web

Related News

'TUF 21' features ATT vs. Blackzilians, $500K grand prize, 16 welterweight cast members

  • 29 days ago
  • 2 views

UFC officials today announced the details for “The Ultimate Fighter 21,” which will use a gym vs. gym format with 16 notable cast members and a $500,000 grand prizeFiled under: News, UFC read news >>

Bellator files lawsuit against 'Rampage' Jackson ahead of scheduled UFC return

  • 27 days ago
  • 1 views

Bellator MMA today filed a lawsuit to block onetime tournament winner Quinton Jackson from fighting in the UFC.Filed under: Bellator, News, UFC read news >>

UFC 184 medical suspensions: Raquel Pennington potentially out six months after loss to Holly Holm

  • 26 days ago
  • 17 views

Raquel Pennington highlighted a list of seven fighters to be handed potential six-month medical suspensions for injuries sustained during Saturday night's UFC 184 event, according to information rele read news >>

Tickets for Miocic vs. Hunt Go On Sale Thursday March 5

  • 27 days ago
  • 1 views

The UFC® today announced ticket prices for the upcoming UFC® FIGHT NIGHTTM: MIOCIC vs. HUNT, which takes place at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on May 10. read news >>

UFC 184 Medical Suspensions: Pennington, Six Others, Sidelined up to Six Months | MMAWeekly.com

  • 25 days ago
  • 9 views

Ronda Rousey and Cat Zingano avoided any time out due to the UFC 184 medical suspensions, but Raquel Pennington topped the list of potential six-month suspensions. read news >>

Tickets on sale today for UFC 187's two title fights in Vegas, $1,042 gets you cageside

  • 23 days ago
  • 33 views

Tickets go on sale today for May’s UFC 187 in Las Vegas, featuring a pair of title fights at the top of the bill.Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Injury knocks Clint Hester from fight with Luke Barnatt at UFC Fight Night 63 in Virginia

  • 22 days ago
  • 0 views

The lineup for next month’s UFC Fight Night 63 card near the nation’s capital will go on absent a fight.Filed under: MMA Rumors, News, UFC read news >>

UFC Announce Czech Broadcast Partnership

  • 19 days ago
  • 0 views

UFC® EMEA today announced a new and exciting broadcast partnership with NOVA Sport which will see UFC events broadcast for the first time in Czech Republic and Slovakia. read news >>

USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie rankings, March 10: Big stakes at UFC 185

  • 18 days ago
  • 2 views

After a fairly quiet weekend on the MMA front, Saturday’s UFC 185 event presents a number of compelling matchups with highly ranked fighters in a variety of divisions.Filed under: Bellator, MMA Ranki read news >>