After getting first UFC win taken away due to pot, Yancy Medeiros pledges sobriety
BALTIMORE — Yancy Medeiros had his first win in the UFC and it came in emphatic fashion, a first-round knockout of Yves Edwards in November.
And then it was taken away.
Medeiros tested positive for marijuana and the fight was ruled a no contest. Medeiros trains with the Diaz brothers, but before you can queue up the weed jokes, the Hawaii native said he’s turned over a new, err, leaf.
"I made a big change," Medeiros said Wednesday at pre-UFC 172 media availability. "I’m sober now. I want to be a good image, to especially Hawaii. I want to be a representative, an ambassador. That was a big change for me."
Medeiros gets back into the Octagon against Jim Miller on Saturday here at Baltimore Arena and the fight comes on interesting circumstances. He was initially supposed to meet Joe Ellenberger, but when Bobby Green got injured and had to pull out of his fight with Miller, Medeiros volunteered to take his place. Ellenberger will now meet Vagner Rocha.
I’m sober now. I want to be a good image, to especially Hawaii. I want to be a representative, an ambassador. That was a big change for me.
Beating someone like Miller, who has been near the top of the lightweight division forever, would be huge for the 26-year-old’s career. And Medeiros said he’s doing it clean, for himself and for his daughter. That doesn’t necessarily mean he loves the idea of marijuana being considered a performance-enhancing drug in the eyes of athletic commissions, but he’s going to suck it up and accept it.
"That’s the rules," Medeiros said. "The rules are the rules and I got to be a professional about it. So I’m not going to bark. This is my income, this is how I put food on my table, this is how I pay my bills. And this is what I have to do."
Medeiros said hanging out with the Diaz brothers has nothing to do with his quest to remain pot free.
"They’re my brothers," he said. "They don’t instill any negativeness on me. They respect my decisions and my choices and they’re there for me as a family and as a team."
Nate Diaz has beaten Miller and he was enthusiastic about Medeiros getting the match up.
"He said, ‘Hell yeah, take that fight — you trained, you’re ready for this,’" Medeiros said Nate told him. "I took it in a heartbeat."
As for the drug rules, Medeiros hopes they change. He said he doesn’t believe in taking any medication — not even ibuprofen for a headache. Medeiros said the only things he puts into his body are organic.
"I think it’s a big hindrance toward a lot of people," Medeiros said of marijuana being banned.