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‘Cheating dog’ — Islam Makhachev accused of breaking rules at UFC 284 by lightweight rival

Islam Makhachev was accused of cheating for his UFC lightweight title defence in Perth.

Islam Makhachev fighting Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284.
Islam Makhachev fighting Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284.
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

On Saturday night Islam Makhachev secured his spot as number-one on the UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings thanks to a close, though still impressive, decision win over Alexander Volkanovski. The win also saw him defend his UFC lightweight title for the first time.

Someone who was not impressed by Makhachev’s win is Dan ‘The Hangman’ Hooker, a teammate of Volkanovski’s over at City Kickboxing. Hooker, who currently sits 11th in the lightweight rankings, accused Makhachev of using an illegal rehydration method ahead of this weekend’s big fight.

“Thinks he can fly to Australia hire a nurse to give him an I.V [sic] and we won’t find out,” wrote Hooker. “Cheating dog.”

Hooker would later add more tweets accusing Makhachev of cheating.

The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) banned the use of IVs by UFC athletes in 2019. Prior to that it was common practise for fighters to use IV infusions to rehydrate their bodies after cutting weight.

The current USADA rule on IVs (available here: IV-Athlete-Information.pdf) states the following:

All IV infusions and/or injections of more than 100 mL (~6.8 tablespoons) per 12- hour period are prohibited at all times, both in and out-of-competition, except for those legitimately received in our out-of-competition in the course of hospital treatments, surgical procedures, clinical diagnostic investigations, and/or those received that are determined to be medically-justified and within the standard of care by a licensed physician and administered by a licensed medical professional, without an approved Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).

USADA claims the IV rule is “designed to protect clean sport and athlete health and safety”. USADA also notes that IVs can be used to affect blood and urine test results for some banned substances.

In April 2016 USADA announced that Makhachev had tested positive for the banned substance meldonium, a popular heart medication that increases blood flow. Meldonium was added as a banned substance on January 1, 2016. In a hearing USADA cleared Makhachev of any wrong doing and chose not to levy a suspension against him. At that time Makhachev said he took the substance after a heart procedure he had in 2015,

Other than that incident, Makhachev has not tested positive for any other banned substances or procedures during his UFC tenure.

Will Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski fight again?

After the close fight, which lead to a unanimous decision win for Makhachev, both fighters have expressed a desire to fight a second time. However, Volkanovski—who currently holds the UFC featherweight title—has also stated a desire to unify his belt, which would require a fight versus recently crowned interim champion Yair Rodriguez.

About the author: Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. (full bio)