Aurora Cannabis Inc. is teaming up with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) for a multi-year global partnership to advance further clinical research on the relationship between hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) products and athlete wellness and recovery.
The purpose of the research is to further CBD-based product development and education. Research will take place at the UFC’s Performance Institute in Las Vegas, Nevada. The performance institute opened two years ago, and now serves over 400 athletes. The study will involve UFC’s sports performance team and other athletes. The clinical trial will explore pain management, inflammation, injury recovery and mental well-being.
Since the beginning, “our primary goal was to offer UFC athletes the best possible training, nutrition and recovery services,” stated UFC President Dana White. The research will be led by Dr. Jason Dyck, who is a professor at the University of Alberta and a Canada Research Chair in Molecular Medicine. He also serves as an independent director on the board of Aurora Cannabis Inc.
“This global partnership places focus squarely on the health and well-being of UFC’s talented and highly trained athletes,” said Terry Booth, CEO of Aurora. “The Aurora-UFC research partnership creates a global platform to launch targeted educational and awareness campaigns, while creating numerous opportunities to accelerate our global CBD business.”
UFC fighters like Per Eklund, Michael Chiesa and Rose Namajunas have advocated for change in the way organizations like UFC handle medical cannabis. In 2016, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency issued UFC Fighter Nate Diaz a warning because he vaped a CBD pen at a press conference. Later, Diaz brandished a blunt on live TV.
The UFC is becoming increasingly curious about the potential for CBD in mixed martial arts and sports in general. UFC has attracted 300 million fans worldwide, with programming that is broadcast to over 170 countries and territories, and in 40 different languages.