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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Harry Davies

Islam Makhachev responds to accusation he used illegal IV before UFC 284 fight

Islam Makhachev has denied claims he used an illegal IV drip to rehydrate before his UFC 284 victory over Alexander Volkanovski.

Makhachev, 31, made the first defence of his lightweight title against featherweight champion Volkanovski in Perth, Australia this past weekend. Volkanovski was moving up to lightweight for the first time in his UFC career and was attempting to become just the fifth double-champ in promotional history by capturing Makhachev's belt, but the Russian edged out his rival by scores 48-47, 48-47 and 49-46.

Volkanovski's teammate Dan Hooker has since accused the lightweight champion of using an IV after weighing in for the fight, a rehydration procedure that is strictly banned under UFC rules. "Dumb c*** thinks he can fly to Australia hire a nurse to give him an I.V and we won’t find out. Cheating dog," Hooker wrote.

"USADA doing f*** all. Prove me wrong. Bet cha can’t. He doesn’t cheat, he doesn’t win," Hooker added before finally tweeting: "Islam is a cheat." But Makhahcev's co-manager Rizvan Magomedov has strongly denied the accusation his fighter cheated by using an IV, telling MMA Junkie: “We all know this is completely BS. The guy [Hooker] is a loser. He’s salty and just looking for attention, and that’s it."

IV infusions and injections of more than 50ml per six-hour period have been banned in the UFC since USADA were implemented into the promotion in 2015. An exception is only for those fighters who received an IV in the course of "hospital admissions, surgical procedures, or clinical investigations" under the anti-doping policy.

Islam Makhachev (right) beat Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284 (Getty Images)

Volkanovski joked about Makhachev using an IV before their fight in an interview on The MMA Hour that was recorded before Hooker made the accusations. When asked how much he thought his opponent weighed in their fight, Volkanovski said: "I think he would have been around 178lb or 180lb. I've heard he gets up to around 182lb, you fill up pretty quick on the IVs and stuff like that. Maybe that's a little shot at him but, you hear whispers."

The last UFC fighter to be sanctioned for using an IV was middleweight Paulo Costa, who was suspended for six months for the prohibited use of an infusion twice in 2017. Costa was facing a two-year ban, which is the sanction all fighters face for IV use, but had his punishment reduced for providing "substantial assistance" to USADA. UFC legend BJ Penn was also suspended for six months for using an IV in 2016, but later claimed he had "no idea that IV use was banned".

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