The Diaz brothers might have a new friend at American Kickboxing Academy.
In eight days, Cain Velasquez will rematch Fabricio Werdum at UFC 207 with the next heavyweight title shot on the line. But the fact that that's even still scheduled is a minor miracle considering the severe pain Velasquez finds himself in. Velasquez is suffering pain caused by a sciatic nerve issue in his right leg that prevents him from being able to stand for long periods of time. In a recent interview with ESPN, Velasquez discussed the problem and how it's affecting him.
"It's an achy pain that goes down your leg, and it gets to a point where if you're standing for 10 minutes, you have to sit down. If you're going out for a while, a half-hour, you know it's going to be pretty painful. You have to sit down and take the compression off your back.
"The surgery is basically shaving off some bone to make room for my sciatic nerve. After the last surgery, the doctor said I might be pain-free forever, but knowing how I train and what I do as a fighter, the pain could come back. I didn't really know how long I was going to feel good. It ended up being about a year."
This isn't the first time this has been an issue for Velasquez. He had surgery in February for a similar issue and he's set to have the surgery again just a few days after UFC 207. That surgery forced Velasquez to withdraw from a scheduled title fight with Werdum at UFC 196, and there were discussions about pulling out of this fight as well. Ultimately, Velasquez opted to stay in this fight, in part due to the help of an herbal remedy: cannabidiol oil (CBD).
You may recall Nate Diaz coming under fire for the use of a vape pen which contained CBD oil after UFC 202 and that's because CBD is banned by USADA in competition (six hours before weigh-ins until six hours after the fight). Out of competition, CBD oil is completely acceptable and as such, Velasquez has taken to using an oral spray to help manage his pain. Velasquez says the CBD oil is invaluable in helping him recover and that it's superior to other forms of painkillers because it's not addictive.
"It's the only thing that allows me to still train, and I'm not taking a harmful painkiller into my body that I'll later become addicted to. I don't know how everyone is going to feel about me saying this, but this is just one of the hard facts we as fighters have to go through. In the past, in the NFL, players have gotten addicted to painkillers. I don't want to be an addict of some sort."
That fear is a legitimate concern for Velasquez. His surgery scheduled for after UFC 207 will be the eighth one of his professional career. The frequency with which he undergoes surgery and is dealing with pain makes a non-opiate option for pain management an extremely logical choice.
And for those worried that this might affect his performance next week, this isn't exactly the first time he's used CBD. Velasquez says he used it before his surgery this year to great effect, and when his pain resurfaced during this training camp, he began again. Velasquez says that the use of CBD oil will in no way impair his performance against Werdum and that the reason he's even using the CBD is because he wants to rematch Werdum so badly.
"As far as preparation, I've done everything. I've sparred, wrestled. I'm not missing workouts at all. I've done my conditioning - everything. I feel great going into this. This fight is about getting revenge, and that's why I like it. It's a fight I asked for, and it's a fight I really wanted."
So if Cain Velasquez rolls up to the UFC 207 post-fight press conference with a vape pen, don't be surprised.
MMAFighting.com: Jed Meshew