Islam Makhachev isn’t bothered by the recent claims of him using Intravenous therapy (an I.V.) ahead of UFC 284 this past weekend (Feb. 11, 2023) in Perth, Australia.
The reigning Lightweight champion made his first successful title defense, thwarting off Featherweight titlist, Alexander Volkanovski, via a hard-fought unanimous decision (watch highlights). Unfortunately for Makhachev, there have been two large bits of controversy following his victory.
First, many within the community have expressed the notion that Makhachev shouldn’t have won at all. Secondly, Volkanovski’s teammate and former opponent of Makhachev’s, Dan Hooker, has come out to claim Makhachev cheated by using an I.V. to help rehydrate after making weight.
“I don’t even want to comment on that,” Makhachev told Russian media upon his arrival back in Dagestan (h/t Red Corner MMA). “UFC works with the expert organization USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency). Before and after the fight, I was tested four times in total. Somebody posted a picture with a bruise on my vein. Australia has its own commission that takes blood samples during fight week. They took my blood on Wednesday and I had the UFC photo shoot on Thursday.
“Some fighters are trying to push this narrative, but the UFC and USADA have no issues with me,” he concluded.
Earlier today (Weds., Feb. 15, 2023), ESPN’s Brett Okamoto gathered some further clarity regarding I.V. usage in UFC as it’s been understood since USADA’s arrival that all usage is banned. However, that isn’t necessarily the case.
“According to the UFC/USADA handbook, an I.V. can be used if it is, ‘determined to be medically justified and within the standard of care by a licensed physician and administered by a licensed medical professional,’” Okamoto tweeted. “I sought further clarification and here’s the bottom line: If an athlete is administered an I.V. of more than the permitted 100 mL (milliliters), as long as it’s done by a licensed pro it is NOT a violation, even in cases where dehydration (caused by a weight cut) is the issue being treated.
“In other words, I.V.s used to treat severe dehydration caused by cutting weight are not REALLY banned, as long as a physician is the one to justify and perform it,” he concluded.
In April 2016, Makhachev was flagged by USADA for an out-of-competition test ahead of his bout with Drew Dober. Makhacehv tested positive for the banned anti-ischemic known as meldonium, canceling the bout as a result. USADA ultimately lifted Makhachev’s temporary suspension after a July 2016 hearing that found the future champion not at fault. Makhachev’s co-manager, Rizvan Magomedov, has already come out and called the claims “completely B.S. (bulls—t).”
For complete UFC 284: “Makhachev vs. Volkanovski” results and play-by-play, click HERE.