Dana White has revealed that the UFC has been attempting to ease the rules on marijuana use by fighters following a string of punishments, although he has insisted that stars will not be allowed to scrap while high.

White confessed that he had been unaware of punishments handed out to welterweight Niko Price and lightweight Kevin Croom after they tested positive for marijuana, marking the latest controversies in a long-running saga between authorities and fighters keen on smoking in their spare time.

Former welterweight contender Nick Diaz was at the center of arguably the most high-profile case in 2015, when he was initially given a five-year suspension and a $165,000 fine following his clash with Anderson Silva.

Diaz was eventually banned for 18 months and ordered to pay $100,000, and a number of fighters have spoken of the benefits of smoking marijuana since then.

In February, Canadian Elias Theodorou – who dubbed himself a “cannabis athlete” – became the first fighter to be given special dispensation to keep taking marijuana as a therapy for his bilateral neuropathy.

Former two-weight champion Conor McGregor also pictured himself smoking a mysterious rolled cigarette as he lay on a sun lounger following his claim of retirement earlier this year, having previously sampled Mike Tyson’s strain on a visit to the boxing icon’s 40-acre marijuana ranch in California.

“I’m surprised that actually happened,” confessed White, upon being told that the Nevada State Athletic Commission had suspended several fighters including Price, who tested positive following a draw against Donald Cerrone in Las Vegas.

“They must have been way over the threshold then. I didn’t even know.

“I don’t think you can’t test. When you’re in competition, you have to test these guys.

A post shared by Elias Theodorou (@eliastheodorou) on Feb 19, 2020 at 7:03am PST

“You can’t let somebody go into the ring high. It just can’t happen, you know?

“I don’t know what to do with that. But we’re trying to…loosen it up. But at the same time, you can’t have guys showing up high.”

The commission’s approach conflicts with the legal status of Marijuana in 15 states across the US.

“If I’m at home and I’m training…I’m definitely going to want to use cannabis,” Diaz told High Times in 2016. “It’s going to help.

“I’m trying to stay focused on what I’m doing. I chill out, relax a little bit and then I don’t have those issues.

A post shared by Nick Diaz (@nickdiaz209) on Mar 22, 2020 at 8:40pm PDT

“If I have to go and train all day, before I go, I’m going to want to smoke.

“If I wake up in the morning and feel beat to sh*t, and it’s going to take me forever to wake up, I smoke some weed and I wake right up. Then I have breakfast and I go do a workout.”

After Diaz tested positive following a points defeat to Carlos Condit in 2012, UFC great Georges St-Pierre questioned whether the drug was performance-enhancing.

“I don’t see it as bad as if it would be like a steroid or something like that,” he added to Bleacher Report.

“Maybe it could help Nick Diaz because he might have problems in front of the camera. Maybe the marijuana calms him down and makes him perform better.”