Making the 170-pound limit had been problematic for former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks, particularly during the succeeding years after his title reign. Apparently, one of his cuts had dire repercussions.
In his recent appearance on The MMA Hour, the 35-year-old retired fighter detailed the grueling experience he had following his last fight at welterweight, which was against Neil Magny at UFC 207 in December 2016.
“After the last time I fought 170, my kidneys shut down,” Hendricks told Luke Thomas (via MMA Fighting). “I ballooned out. So, let’s see, I fought on Saturday. On Sunday night I got home, I was 219, and I blew up like a balloon. My doctor was like, ‘Hey, you need to go to the hospital.’ I was like, I know exactly what’s going on, my kidneys shut down. And I guess it went on for about four or five days.”
“On Thursday, they rebooted, and whenever that happened, I went from 219 to 199 in like 24 hours, and I didn’t work out or nothing. That’s when I was like, ‘You know what, I’m going to kill myself.’”
According to Hendricks, the incident would have been avoided if he was still allowed to use IVs for rehydrating. The ban was implemented in 2015, much to the dismay of many fighters.
“And that’s the thing, with IVs, the damage that you do by cutting weight, [the IV] helps you not kill yourself, because like I said, all that stuff that’s important to your body, you can’t get it back in 36 hours,” Hendricks explained. “You can’t get it back in 48 hours.”
“But with an IV, it goes straight into your veins, it goes straight into your muscles, in your organs, and it sends [everything] exactly where it needs to for you to recover the best you can. That’s why in every sport, what do they do? In every sport, if you’re hurting or you’re this or you’re that, they give you IVs.”
“They’re a huge part,” he continued. “I remember back in the day, I liked to take them on Wednesdays. I’d take like a half of a bag on Wednesday, just so that way it’d keep me from getting sick, it helped where I could train harder — so on Wednesday, I would start fading on my training, and then I would take an IV bag in the middle of the day, I could train hard on Wednesday night, Thursday, Friday, and it was like a brand new me.”
For Hendricks, the IV ban played a huge part in his regression as a welterweight fighter. For him, there would have been a workaround if only USADA gave it a chance.
“So, I’m a bigger welterweight, I walk around at 210,” Hendricks said. “I’ve done that since I was 19 years old, walk around at 210, and the IV always brought me back. It helped me get back to life, it helped me get to where I didn’t feel like I cut weight. And once USADA come into play, I had to start walking around like 190 at best, and as you can tell, I do carry a lot of weight ... and that’s sort of one reason why it just made it that much harder to make weight at 170.”
“I loved the fact of USADA and I loved that you do the random drug testing. I just wish that, they have a lot of people that show up at these meets — you want to do an IV, have them test you every day. I’m perfectly fine with that. You show up Monday, you get tested. Tuesday, you get tested. Wednesday, you get tested. Thursday, if you have any pee left, you can get tested on Thursday.
“They’re there testing the IV bags, they’re doing everything like that, and I think you can bring back IVs, because I think there’s a lot of people that really used the IVs to help them fight better,” he added.
“Once you took that away, you started to see some of these guys, they either had to move up or they stayed at their normal weight and they didn’t perform like they used to.”
Hendricks (18-8, with nine wins by stoppage), was on a two-fight losing streak before he decided to retire from competition last June.