Ian Mccall is a former MMA world champion and UFC fighter who, since his retirement, has shifted his focus to helping athletes heal through psychedelics. 

After his extensive fighting career, Ian was left with life-altering brain damage— as many athletes are. Psychedelics helped him get his life back on track. Now, he is working to ensure that other athletes struggling with brain injuries get the same opportunity. 

Ian has worked with the UFC to try and promote psychedelic treatment for athletes. Most recently, he started a non-profit called Athletes Journey Home. He is currently raising money to take a group of athletes down to Peru and study the effects of ayahuasca on their brains. The project is being done in partnership with the Ayahuasca Foundation and the University of Melbourne. 

We caught up with Ian to find out what is going on in the world of sports and psychedelics.

  1. What is the thing you wish people knew about psychedelic use in the realm of professional athletes?

My wish is to show the healing potential of not only the brain and body but also of the spirit of these great people. For them to heal and transform their lives so they can in turn tell their stories to the masses through a process I like to call the pollination effect. Also, I like to teach these people the performance benefits of using these medicines safely in a competition setting. Microdosing while fighting will not only heal and protect the brain but also lead to much greater performance. 

  1. How have you seen the perception of psychedelics grow and change among athletes in the past 5 years?

Over the last 5 years, I have seen a huge change. People used to think I was crazy and now they want to see for themselves the true potential of these medicines. Major organizations like the UFC are firmly behind it and truly believe in what we are doing.

  1. What inspired you to start Athlete’s Journey Home?

My close friend Jessie Gould who is the CEO of the non-profit Heroic Hearts Project is the main person to push me into starting my own non-profit using athletes as my model and case study. I saw the impact he was having with Veterans, and it made so much sense.

  1. After you complete the Athlete’s Journey Home, what do you plan to do next to help destigmatize psychedelics among professional athletes?

I don’t think my work with AJH will ever be done, but I am in the process of building some other lifestyle and wellness-based projects in the psychedelic space.

  1. How will psychedelics be used in professional sports in the future?

Psychedelics are and will continue to be used in the athletic space as not only a healing and performance supplement but also as a bridge to bring these athletes home. Creating a better culture in sports and greater role models for people to look up to is crucial.

If you would like to support Ian’s work with Athlete’s Journey Home, you can donate here.