A recent event at a private residence in Denver featured the premier combat sport series of top-tier athletes, RUF MMA and cannabis vendors. This is just one example among many events around the country that demonstrate how marijuana and its derivatives are being used to drive innovation for both consumers and businesses.
PHOENIX, Ariz. — It’s fairly uncommon for an MMA event to take place at Celebrity Theatre. It’s a good idea to combine the tournament with a cannabis expo.
That was the case on Saturday, when promoter RUF 44 staged “RUF, Puff & Rumble,” the Valley’s first meeting of the two industries.
Marijuana has always had a shaky connection with sports. Various state commissions have looked down on marijuana in the past, giving down bans of up to five years for repeated positive THC tests, the psychoactive component of the plant. The Arizona State Boxing & MMA Commission, on the other hand, has followed the UFC practice of testing, allowing competitors to ingest marijuana freely until fight day, enabling additional events like RUF 44 to take place.
Dr. Joel Lopez, the CEO and Founder of RUF Nation, had the idea of combining MMA with marijuana two years ago, but it wasn’t until Trap Culture Promotions, a local company that promotes cannabis-related events, reached out to Lopez that his vision became a reality. Following that, the two parties met and transformed a concept into a reality.
“As a result, I went to their office.” We started by passing a decent cigarette around. So, how’s it going? “And they say, ‘We have an idea,’” Lopez said. “This is exactly what we do.” We attend social and mainstream events, as well as hosting our own. They travel to places like arcades and only offer full-service eating areas. I’m like, “Wait, what?” Oh my god. “RUF, Puff, and Rumble,” I said.
In November, Arizona voters approved the Smart and Safe Act, often known as Proposition 207, which made marijuana usage legal for anyone aged 21 and above.
RUF 44 was one of the most attended events in the promotion’s history, gaining enormous support from fans and merchants alike, despite the fact that the event featuring MMA took two months to plan after the logistics were set out.
“And the reaction we received from the merchants, people coming in from Tucson, Las Vegas, California… it was like, ‘This is going to explode out,’” Lopez said.
As a result, dozens of merchants gathered under the Arizona heat to show off their wares, which included anything from clothes to glasses to CBD pet items. The event’s organizers anticipated that it would raise societal awareness and acceptance of the fast developing sector.
However, for others, such as Coltyn Turner and Rita Valenzuela, it was an opportunity to fight the battle on prescription drug abuse and discover more natural ways to recover.
Turner added, “I began when I was 14.” “And I’ve been in remission from Crohn’s illness since 2014, thanks to cannabis.” It’s been a wild ride, and there are so many individuals who can benefit from cannabis.”
Valenzuela, a nurse, began manufacturing cannabis oils and lotions in reaction to the trauma she suffered in a vehicle accident a few years ago, blaming medical experts’ hypocrisy in pushing medicines.
Nurses don’t even use the s— while they’re prescribing, according to Valenzuela.
Lopez, the RUF Nation CEO, understands this since he is a semi-retired psychotherapist who uses the product to relieve back pain. His first encounter with the plant, however, occurred at a young age, when his great grandmother utilized it as a therapeutic agent, rubbing it into her customers’ aches and pains, giving Lopez a medicine-first attitude from the start.
“It was always for me, medicine.” I got more comfortable with it as I became more conscious of what it was and wasn’t. “I began using it in my late 40s,” Lopez added.
Lopez’s change of heart has allowed him to re-establish contact with his son, Nathan, who works in the cannabis sector as well. They view it as a means of reuniting with their history.
“It’s almost like going back to our natural origins,” Lopez said, “you know, before smoke and tobacco would bring people together.” “And the same thing, we enjoy the smoke together.” And we discuss everything. And it’s certainly brought us closer together, because I’ve always understood what (Nathan) was trying to say. And I was the one who was narrow-minded.”
Apart from personal reasons, Lopez believes it is past time for more individuals to speak out about cannabis usage and awareness, rather than dismissing it as a tool solely for boxers and other sports.
“I believe it’s a fantastic concept. It shouldn’t be considered as a performance-enhancing substance like it is in most sports, in my opinion. Turner said, “It truly is a treatment that will ease the consequences of concussions.” “Imagine how much better it would be for athletes who are subjected to a great deal of physical stress and harm.” There’s a lot of things that cannabis can help with.”
However, Lopez believes that drug limits have loosened since 90 percent of boxers use some sort of cannabis to medicate.
“They are inextricably linked. And it’s because of this that we’ve been able to capture that culture and raise awareness about what we’re doing,” Lopez said. “We need more support from experts and professionals who are brave enough to speak out about it and aren’t scared of losing their jobs as a result.”
Lopez and RUF Nation are hoping to re-capture the vibe with an even larger RUF, Puff & Rumble event on December 12 at Celebrity Theatre.