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Jessica Joanne Eye, Flyweight Women’s UFC Contender


“The things cannabis does for the body and all that it has helped me with, I have to be an advocate.”– Jessica Eye

Jessica Eye has been competing in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) for six years and continues to win against the best contenders in the world. She has a servant’s heart and is enthusiastic about advocating for the cannabis plant in every way.

I first saw Jessica warming up at in Chicago before UFC 238. It’s way different to see fighters in person than on TV, their speed and strength is breathtaking. In the octagon, I watched the sweat and blood fly as she traded blows with Valentina Shevchenko. Shevchenko landed a kick to the head and Jessica hit the floor with a slam that reverberated through the stadium. Her corner huddled around her as she came to and then they walked off gracefully. The next week she was back on social media joking that Valentina only knocked her out because she needed the sleep.

I became a fan at this moment.

Jessica-Eye

Professional Record: 15-7-0 Age: 33 Height: 5’6” Weight: 125 lbs Nickname: Evil Eye Listening to: Billie Eilish Fave Hobby: Cooking for friends

Fast forward six months and Jessica is back in the octagon at UFC 245 versus Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt, Viviane Araujo. Jessica showed veteran poise and dominated every round to win a unanimous decision. I learned so much from how professional fighters handle wins and losses.

Both the UFC and MLB have dropped cannabis from the banned substances list and are allowing athletes to consume cannabis as needed. Jessica was the first fighter to test positive for elevated levels of cannabinoids due to CBD and has helped pave the way for rule changes regarding cannabis in the UFC. It’s a privilege to collaborate with athletes who are champions and public figures. We want cannabis to be associated with success and good health.

UFC fighters are permitted to test positive cannabis as long as their fight takes place in a jurisdiction where cannabis is legal. Since cannabis is legal in Nevada, Jessica is allowed to test positive for THC before any fight in Vegas. If the fight were in Dubai, she would have to test clean for cannabinoids because THC is completely illegal there.

I met Jessica at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas, which is a $14 million dollar 30,000 sq. ft. training facility with a full size octagon, gyms, medical rooms, offices, a spa and kitchens stocked with tons of proteins and fresh fruit.

Do you like training at the Performance Institute?

It’s an incredible place and the only drawback is being there at the same time as an opponent. We try to keep things separate which means scheduling workouts around each other and such. Besides that, it’s pretty amazing.

Darren-Branch

Darren Branch, Jessica Eye’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Coach Favorite Food: Super thin pancakes. Some people call them 49’ers.

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Barberton, Ohio, a suburb south of Cleveland. My childhood was very active and as a young lady I was very into sports. I had a rough childhood with my father and sports has always been my element and my release. As well as cannabis, which has always been a large part of my life.

When was the first time you were exposed to cannabis?

I remember smelling cannabis and knowing it was different than a cigarette. If I asked my dad what it was back then he would say it’s a skunk or don’t worry about it. I wonder what people say to their kids now. Hopefully, parents are informing their kids that this is medicine. The conversation about marijuana is much more open now and it’s good to see times changing.

What kind of sports did you play growing up?

Everything! (laughs) Basketball and Soccer. Between having a younger and older brother we were always playing aggressively. My dad was a midwest burly type man and playing sports was inevitable for me. When I played basketball he loved it so much and my brothers always made sure I was tough. Then I did the same for my little brother. I made sure all the ass whoopings I took from them got dished back down to my little brother Casey.

What age were you introduced to martial arts?

The first time I ever saw a fight was when Ken Shamrock and I can’t remember who (Royce Gracie) fought on one of the first original UFC’s. You had to rent it from Blockbuster on VHS. That was back when pay-per-view was like $9 and you had to rent it way ahead of time. So we rented it from Blockbuster and watched it and I was like… Okay, yep, fighting is cool.

Is that when you started training?

Not yet. After graduation I enrolled at Akron University for Business Technology and I was trying to play on their soccer team. Sports can be a weird place in D1 schools. To get into the MAC-10 and compete in that conference is really hard to do, especially when you come from a tiny school. I mean we had 100 people in my graduating class.


Casey, Jessica Eye’s younger brother

How did you start fighting and make it to the UFC?

I started cocktail waitressing in college and my friends were always talking about these cage fights around town. All these local venues had popular cage fighting and I ended up going to an event where I heard about Strong Style Fitness Center in Cleveland. I visited the guys up there and then spent the last 13 years training there. Then I came directly here to the UFC PI campus. And now here I am fighting in the UFC since 2014. My first fight ever was in 2008.

How do you handle adversity and defeat in the public Eye?

I actually got this from the Walking Dead but there’s a quote in there where the lady is asked how she learned to be strong and she says, “I just did it, even when I didn’t want to, I just woke up everyday and made myself stronger.”

Even though I felt like my social media Instagram post after UFC 238 was more for everyone else to let them know I was okay, it actually taught ME how to be okay. Taught ME how to be better and how to just know that sometimes bad things happen and it’s the same for everyone.

I agree, it’s an Eye for an Eye sometimes.

Sometimes you ask a person out and they say no. Sometimes you buy the wrong food and get food poisoning. Sometimes you fight the wrong fight and you lose. But that’s just a part of who you are and what makes you so amazing. This sport can get so wrapped up in the wrong things and we can forget that we are all just people and this is supposed to be fun.

“This wonderful plant grows from the sun and it’s exciting to see how many different ways it can improve your life.”– Jessica Eye

How important is cannabis in your training regimen?

I came into the last UFC fight after having six disc herniations in my back. One of the things the doctors wanted to do was give me an epidural, pain relievers and muscle relaxers. I was like, nope, I can’t do that. I won’t take pills for the next three weeks and then go into the fight week and can’t take them anymore. I don’t want to feel withdrawals and things from getting addicted to pills. That sounds terrible.

I told them that I use cannabis medically and recreationally. I asked to get my MMJ license and do things the right way. Cannabis has helped me manage pain and also keep the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m able to keep my perspective and also fight the pain.

One thing we have noticed pre fight and post fight after my knockout was that the MRI showed no signs of concussion. Cannabis creates a helmet of mucous around the brain. The THC is the vehicle but its other cannabinoids that create this barrier of padding around the brain. I have been using CBD and THC for years and I believe it’s one of the factors that protects my body.

What’s the week after a fight like?

Lots of sleep and lots of togetherness with my friends and family. We relax, eat good and roll lots of fat motivator joints.

Let’s play “Would You Rather…”

Mike: Would you rather be kicked in the stomach or punched in the face?

Jessica: Punched in the face for sure. Kicked in the stomach means chances of liver shots. Those will shut you down.

Jessica: Would you rather eat donuts or cake?

Mike: Donuts!

Jessica: Yes, that’s correct! (laughs)

Jessica: Would you rather wear high tops or low tops?

Mike: High tops! You are good at this game!

I want to say a huge THANK YOU for welcoming our readers into your UFC home. I’m excited to watch you kick ass tomorrow and I look forward to the next chapter for you and your team.

What would you like to say to your new fans out there?

Thank you for jumping on this wild ride with me. We are going to have a blast and hopefully one day we can all share a big marijuana cigarette together!

Follow Jessica’s adventures on Instagram @jessicaevileye and follow UFC fights and news on the ESPN+ and Fight Pass app.

The Cannabis Cactus Magazine has more great interviews.

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