UFC issues anti-doping program IV rules reminder to fighters

The UFC has issued an important reminder to fighters surrounding IV use.

After UFC 284, lightweight champion Islam Makhachev was accused by fellow lightweight Dan Hooker of using intravenous (IV) therapy to rehydrate after weigh-ins for his main event championship bout against Alexander Volkanovski in Perth, Australia.

Makhachev’s team denied Hooker’s claim, telling MMA Junkie the accusations were “completely BS.”

However, the situation sparked conversations about IV use under the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), prompting the promotion to clear up any confusion about what is permitted by issuing a reminder of the UFC Anti-Doping Program’s rules to the fighter roster. The initial rules prohibiting IV use were implemented in 2015, but were adjusted in 2019.

MMA Junkie obtained a copy of the email fighters received, which outlines when a fighter may use an IV without the need for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE):

In light of recent discussions on the UFC Anti-Doping Program (UFC ADP) IV rules, below is a reminder of the rule as it has stood since the end of 2019. This rule, along with the entire UFC ADP, has been publicly posted since that time at Additionally, multiple advisories on the IV rule have been emailed to UFC athletes, managers and support. Lastly, USADA advises all new UFC athletes on the UFC-ADP IV rule when they join the UFC Registered Testing Pool (UFC RTP).

  • The following IVs are now permitted without a TUE:

    • Those received in the course of hospital treatments, surgical procedures, clinical diagnostic investigations;

    • Those received by a licensed medical professional after a licensed physician determines that they are medically justified;

    • IVs of less than a total of 100 mL per 12-hour period;

    • Separate of the UFC Anti-Doping Program rules, athletic commissions require any athlete who receives an IV surrounding a fight to (1) obtain permission from the commission before receiving an IV and; (2) disclose use of that IV to the commission after its use. Despite the fact that IV use is now permitted under UFC ADP rules if administered by a “licensed medical professional after a licensed physician determines they are medically justified,” the required disclosure of such use to an athletic commission could jeopardize the licensing of the fight by the commission. Most athletic commissions and their medical staffs will further make a determination if a fighter is medically cleared to compete after IV use. Athletic commission IV rules vary from commission to commission, which is why disclosure of intended and completed IV use to athletic commissions surrounding a fight is required.

The IV initial rules began Oct. 1, 2015. Fighters were allowed infusions or injections of non-prohibitied substances as long as the volume of fluid administered did not exceed 50mL per six-hour period.

All IVs of more than 50mL in or out of competition were prohibited at all times, with the exception of “those legitimately received in the course of hospital admissions, surgical procedures, or clinical investigations, without an approved TUE.” In addition, all prohibited substances administered by injection or IV required a TUE whether above or below 50mL.

After conversations began following Hooker’s accusation towards Makhachev, UFC senior vice president of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitzky issued statements on Twitter, similar to the email fighters received, explaining the updated IV rules.

There is currently no verifiable evidence available that suggests Makhachev used an IV in compliance with the rules or otherwise during UFC 284 fight week.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie