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HomeNewsUFC 2023: Cheating scandal deepens, Alex Volkanovski’s coach addresses Islam Makhachev IV...

UFC 2023: Cheating scandal deepens, Alex Volkanovski’s coach addresses Islam Makhachev IV drip allegations, update

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The UFC cheating scandal overshadowing Islam Makhachev’s blockbuster win over Alex Volkanovski has deepened as the Australian’s coach claimed “something’s gone on there”.

Makhachev defeated Volkanovski via unanimous decision in Perth last weekend to retain his lightweight belt and deny Volk the chance to attain rare ‘double champ’ status.

But the result, especially one 49-46 scorecard, has been heavily criticised, with pundits including Joe Rogan arguing Volkanovski was robbed of victory.

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UFC lightweight Dan Hooker accused Makhachev of illegally using an IV drip to rehydrate after cutting weight.

“Dumb c**t thinks he can fly to Australia, hire a nurse to give him an IV and we won’t find out. Cheating dog,” Hooker said.

“USADA doing f**k all,” he said, referring to the penalties in place for intravenous saline drip use.

Using an IV drip to rehydrate was previously commonplace in combat sports, but was banned in the UFC in October 2015 after a decision by the USADA.

USADA officials instituted the ban because IV drips can contribute to unhealthy amounts of weight-cutting, and can also be used to mask the use of some performance enhancing drugs.

UFC fighters face bans of up to two years for the use of IV drips without a medical reason.

Makhachev responded to Hooker’s allegation, tweeting on Thursday: “You must be held accountable for such accusations.”

The Russian’s co-manager Rizvan Magomedov tweeted: “Jealous losers spreading lies, eventually this is all you can do.”

Magomedov also told MMA Junkie: “We all know this is completely B.S. (Hooker) is a loser. He’s salty and just looking for attention, and that’s it.”

In a now-deleted tweet, Egyptian MMA manager Ali Abdelaziz said: “For all those idiots out there, any fighter under the UFC banner can take 2-3 litres of IV as long as it’s done by a nurse or a professional, next week I’m gonna expose everybody. Islam Makhachev is the new Pound-For-Pound King.”

Eugene Bareman, who has coached Volkanovski and former middleweight champion Israel Adesanysa, believes there is truth to Hooker’s allegations, although under UFC rules it’s prohibited to take on litres of fluid via an IV.

“We have reliable information to a point,” Bareman told The MMA Hour.

“I will half plead the fifth. Can you half plead the fifth? The information falls short because for several reasons, and one of them is that you can actually take an IV before a fight. It just has to be 100 ml of saline every 12 hours, in a 12-hour block.

“So what it has to come down to is whether you believe that people are going to take this saline, 100 ml, and then stop.”

“And the fact that from that team there were two fighters from that same team and the information can’t reliably tell us yet which fighter illegally hydrated or whether they went over 100 ml.

“But I don’t know, no information can tell us without a doubt that someone in their team used an IV badge to rehydrate, which is not illegal if you used 100 ml. You’ve just got to ask yourself if it’s only 100 ml you’ve got to use for 12 hours, why would you even bother?”

Bareman said it would be difficult to prove if any improper use of an IV was done by Makhachev or his training partner Zubaira Tukhugov, who fought on the undercard of UFC 284.

“Either it was Zubaira or whether it was Islam, something’s gone on there,” he said.

“If it was Zubaira and not Islam, then Islam should be distanced. If anyone on my team was doing something illegal, then I would immediately distance the team from that person.

“I advised Dan against even talking about it. Look, as you can see, that information has holes in it, that’s what I’m alluding to, but also there’s enough information there for to be like, ‘Eeeh…’

“This is why Alex and the rest of the team are laughing because we’re like, something’s going on there, we just can’t reliably say what it is.

“It’s frustrating because the whole sport should be played on an even playing field. Then again, you can’t reliably say that Islam cheated, so I wouldn’t go out there and say that in the manner that Dan did. That’s just — I don’t think you can reliable say that. But something was going on there.

“Maybe something will come out in the wash, maybe it won’t, but I think the more important thing is to focus on the fight and not worry about that so much. And the fight was — what a fight.

“Congratulations to Islam and Javier (Mendez) and his other coaches who I’m not so familiar with, but congratulations to those guys, they won.

“And congratulations to Alex. I’m super proud of Alex and what he was able to do and we’ll move on. Give us the next big challenge because that’s what these guys do.”

Despite the loss, Volkanovski has held onto his No. 1 position in UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings.

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