Photos by Petro Papahadjopoulos, courtesy of Tradecraft Farms
Daniel Rodriguez says he’s the biggest stoner in the UFC: “I probably display that I smoke weed more than any other fucking UFC fighter out there,” he told me during a phone call while in the middle of rolling up a joint.
The mixed martial artist is a loud and proud pothead, and luckily that gels with the UFC. Last year, the organization enacted a policy change and will no longer consider a positive drug test for weed a violation of its anti-doping policy.
This couldn’t be better news for D-Rod, who utilizes the plant to help him stay focused (and entertained) while training nonstop. And the man gets results: After a 7-0 record as a Welterweight in the amateur leagues, an 8-1 record in Dana White’s Contender Series, he stepped up to the big leagues in 2020 with a UFC win, earning him the Performance of the Night award.
“All these fools in the UFC are getting beat up by a straight-up stoner,” says Rodriguez.
D-Rod says he wants to “shine a light on the idea that athletes can be successful and smoke weed,” and he’s pushing that message by partnering with California’s Tradecraft Farms as a brand ambassador. (FYI: Tradecraft Farms, which was founded by Brent Walker and Barry Walker, is a multi-state operator with full vertical ops in California and Oklahoma, as well as an upcoming site in Maine where UFC and MMA have huge followings.)
“The partnership with D-Rod has been organic since we met,” wrote Shadow Becker from Tradecraft. “We quickly realized he was elevating his craft beyond the norm which is what we like to do with our cultivation and brands. The pairing was perfect and together we will continue to push the collaboration between cannabis and Mixed Martial Arts. Stay tuned, the best is yet to come!”
Together, they’re throwing a party on June 4th at Tradecraft’s new dispensary in El Monte, California — a stone’s throw from where the athlete grew up.
But first, get to know D-Rod a little. In a very mellow interview, the fighter brings us through his weed-laced training routine and talks about being stoned during his most recent UFC match. “It’s like the movie How High; if I train high, then I should fight high.” He also offers some choice West Coast hip-hop recs and explains why he wants to “smoke a joint with the whole world.”
What’s your current favorite strain and how do you like to consume it?
Daniel Rodriguez: First off, I gotta say I probably display that I smoke weed more than any other fucking UFC fighter out there. Most people are discrete, but I put myself out there with my weed use. Shit, I’m going to roll a joint as we’re talking. I’m going to get into the zone, bro.
For my favorite strain, I’d say Gelato, I like that. I like pretty much anything that doesn’t get me slumped. That said, most weed doesn’t get me slumped. A lot of people tell me that weed knocks them out, or they’ll ask, “How do you smoke weed and still work out?” And I’m like, “I don’t know how you smoke weed and not work out.” It’s a mental thing for me. I am so focused on trying to be my best that it consumes my mind, whether I’m high or not. I think smoking weed enhances my desire to work. It takes my mind off the pain and gets me in my zone. It’s all mental.
I’m just constantly thinking about trying to grow and get better as a fighter, so smoking weed just enhances that shit. It actually makes me more creative and willing to try other shit. Plus, I train so much that I have to be able to stay entertained doing it — and weed helps with that.
Does weed help you train, regardless of what type of weed it is?
I feel like weed is gonna help me, regardless of the strain. Whether sativa, indica, or hybrid, I don’t really feel a difference. For me, I’ll smoke a fucking joint, which is my preferred smoking method, and then I’ll pop on some headphones, get some good music going, and I can do this training shit all day.
Actually, my schedule is: I wake up, smoke a joint, go work out, eat some healthy shit, smoke a joint on my way to another gym, go work out, and so on. Weed just helps me get through the fucking day.
Everybody knows when I show up to the gym — I smell like straight up weed, bro. I’ll stink it up. They smell me before I even walk in. Weed is my cologne. I’m that dude bumping music and hotboxing my car five minutes before practice.
Do you ever consume cannabis before a professional fight?
Maybe I shouldn’t say this, but I fought stoned during my last fight. It was against Kevin Lee, and I smoked a joint before we left the hotel to go to the venue. It was like two or three hours before the fight. I look at it like this, bro: It’s like the movie How High; if I train high, then I should fight high. And I’ll get high scores.
Didn’t Lee get flagged for taking adderall before that fight?
Ya man. That’s wild bro. And he still lost. It shows that weed beats adderall. I’ve said this before, but all these dudes in the UFC are getting beat up by a straight-up stoner. And that’s me.
Do you have any favorite weed products right now?
So I have a partnership with Tradecraft Farms, and they have some fire-ass weed. They’re good people and the weed is fucking amazing. It’s a growing company and I’m happy to be a part of it and help bring the light to what they’re doing. They just opened a shop in El Monte, California, which is right next to my hometown, and we’re hosting an event on June 4th — a grand opening with a mural, a lowrider show, a band, food, vendors, etc.
As far as weed products, I’m a flower connoisseur — you can call me that. I’m not really a fan of edibles. That shit just hits different, bro. I’ll do the occasional dab at the end of the day after I’ve smoked so many joints. But I typically keep like four or five different strains on me. So throughout the day, I’ll smoke joints with different flower strains in them. If I smoke the same strain all day, the effect plateaus. It won’t hit me as much as when I mix up the strains in my rotation.
Funny enough, I don’t like to mix strains together in the same joint. I tried it recently, and that hit me differently; I was lazy as fuck. That’s the only time weed really gets me slumped.
What activity do you like to do after you’ve gotten really stoned?
Honestly bro, everything I do revolves around fighting. If I have a moment where I can just kick it and be faded and not work out, I’m usually in recovery mode. I’ll chill in the sauna or hang out in the hot tub or an ice bath. Recovery mode is essential to me. Other than that, my life is totally consumed by training. I don’t play video games, or shit like that, you know? I’ll drink beers on my off time, though [laughs].
Can you recommend something to watch while really high?
If I have time to watch something, I’ll check out some stand-up comedy or NBA playoffs. I like comics like Dave Chappelle, Sebastian Maniscalco, Bill Burr, Jo Koy, Jeff Ross. I even like old school shit like George Carlin.
Can you recommend something to listen to while smoking?
I listen to not-so-popular shit. I dig through a lot of music. Lately, I’ve been focusing on up-and-coming rappers from the West Coast. Of course, I still listen to YG and Nipsey, but lately I’ve been focusing on Dom Kennedy, Premo Rice, D Smoke, Polyester The Saint, this R&B artist called Blxst. Stuff like that, real mellow stuff that has positive energy and goes well with a side of bud. I like hood shit too, like RJ Mr. LA, B-Real, and Berner.
Can you recommend something to read once stoned?
The Mamba Mentality, which is Kobe Bryant’s book. It’s his personal notes, quotes, sayings, and stories. I love the complete Mamba mentality — situational stuff, like when he injured his achilles and how he dealt with that. I’m a heavy, heavy, heavy LA enthusiast. I’m huge on the vibe and culture. And since I’m from Cali, I really took stuff in from Kobe Bryant. I want to read something on Nipsey Hussle next. I’m into books on positive mindsets and LA legends.
Who’s in your dream blunt rotation?
Anybody alive? I already smoked with B-Real. So definitely Snoop, Berner, Eddie Bravo (my jiu jitsu coach), and Mike Tyson.
I haven’t tried Mike Tyson’s weed yet, but I’d definitely like to get my hands on some. I could see myself running into Tyson at some point with my line of work and career trajectory. Whether I go on his podcast, or he comes on mine, I feel like we’re gonna chop it up sometime soon.
Also, I want to smoke a joint with the whole world! We’ll solve world peace, you know what I mean?
Any upcoming projects you want to plug?
I want to give rapping a try, but right now I’m really focused on training my dick off. Smoking good weed, training hard, and fighting these fools. I’ve been on the sidelines for six or seven months now. I finally gave my body the rest it needed, and now I’m ready to get back in there. People keep asking, “When’s the comeback? When’s the next fight?” So I feel the urgency to get back in there. Everything will come with time. I’m just developing my skills in areas that need work, instead of dropping bombs on these fools all the time.
Last question – can you elaborate on your relationship with Tradecraft Farms?
You can say I’m a brand ambassador. Their bud is so good that it will sell itself, but where I’m trying to help take it is to shine a light on the idea that athletes can be successful and smoke weed. There are beneficial aspects to it, as far as recovery. I don’t want to even think about how nuts I’d be if I didn’t smoke weed. I’d be running off the fucking walls, bro. I want to help Tradecraft gain popularity within the MMA world. I fucking love weed. I’m helping with their dispensary opening in El Monte, and I’m bringing the whole LA vibe. I represent LA to the fullest in the UFC, and me hosting this event and bringing what I represent will be dope. We’re gonna have a good-ass time. Big shout-out to Tradecraft Farms.
For more on Daniel Rodriguez, follow him on Instagram