There is no shortage of anti-cannabis bias coming from various professional sports leagues. We’ve reported extensively about the NFL’s ban on medical marijuana and their continued refusal to allow players to use the plant for pain management, potentially replacing pharmaceuticals. Even a harmless 4/20 joke told on Twitter landed a punter a drug screening from the league. The MLB, NBA and NHL are no better when it comes to their substance policies for players.
Perhaps even more hypocritical and ridiculous is the fact that these leagues have no problem advertising for alcohol products, but ban cannabis advertisers. Professional boxing could have just landed a critical blow when it comes to breaking down these prohibitions and allowing cannabis businesses the same rights afforded to any other legal industry. The undercard of this past weekend’s hyped-up fight between Irish MMA fighter Connor McGregor and undefeated veteran boxer Floyd Mayweather featured a sponsorship from a cannabis company called FlavRX. Undefeated cruiserweight champion Andrew Tabiti bested former world champion Steve Cunningham, with FlavRX sponsoring Tabiti during the fight in Las Vegas.
According to Bleacher Report, a record number of about 6.5 million viewers ponied up the $100 to watch the fight, with millions more watching bootlegged versions being illegally streamed. That number broke the previous pay-per-view record of 4.5 million set in May of 2015 with the Mayweather-Pacquiao match.
While this might not seem like an accomplishment or a big deal at all, it could mean that more sports leagues will allow cannabis companies to advertise during their broadcasts. Little by little, this helps to legitimize the legal weed industry. In the near future, we could very well see cannabis businesses advertising alongside sport sponsorship mainstays like Coca-Cola, Chevy and Geico. As more and more small victories like this one happen for the legal marijuana industry, the age-old stigmas of the plant-medicine will eventually evaporate into the ether, much like alcohol prohibition. Everyday consumers will start to see the legal weed industry for what it is: a law-abiding, respectable market that is primed for sustained growth – and it’s only just beginning.
While he hasn’t said whether he partakes himself, Tabiti likely wears some company swag that he gets from his sponsors at FlavRX. Tabiti became a professional boxer in 2013 and has been undefeated since then. In his first ten fights, he knocked his opponent out every time. After last weekend’s fight, he is now 15-0.