Mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters cut lots of weight, that's just part of the business.
But under the new policies of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), who will serve as the independent administrator for the UFC's new drug-testing policy, fighters will no longer be ably to rehydrate using intravenous (IV) methods.
Simply put, the days of the needle and plastic bag may soon be over.
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The new policy didn't sit too well with athletes currently competing under the ZUFFA banner, including top bantamweight prospect Anthony Birchak, who slammed the change in procedure as a "shitty" decision that will send fighters to alternate divisions.
His words (via Bloody Elbow):
"I think it's fucking dumb. A lot of fighters are going to get knocked out. Guys cutting a lot of weight will have to move back up. I just saw Ian Entwistle get pulled out. I know that guy is huge and probably used three or four bags to get back up in weight. I had a very good friend of mine got knocked out because he didn't rehydrate properly. They're going to expect us to go out there and fight and not be fully hydrated to the max. We run a big chance of getting knocked out. It's fucking shitty."
The policy is to prohibit blood doping, as opposed to extreme weight cuts.
"There are certain methods, like an IV infusion or gene doping or autologous or homologous blood transfusion, where you take someone else's blood in advance of a bout," USADA CEO Travis Tygart told MMA Hour. "It gives you oxygen carrying capacity and recovery capacity and all sorts of benefits. It would be, by the way, game changing benefits."
The new policy takes effect July 1 (full details here).