Jeff Novitzky, a known drug czar, discusses the details of a possible ban for IV rehydration for MMA fighters who will be caught to continue its use.
Come October, all of the UFC fighters are no longer allowed rehydrate intravenously after their weigh-in. This anti-doping program will be conducted by the UFC and with its partner, USADA.
This is what Novitsky has to say:
“The risk versus reward under this program, I mean, if someone is found out to have taken an IV you’re facing a potential two-year ban, which is a long time in the UFC and in MMA. Hopefully all those factors that are put forth, everyone will follow the rules.
It is something that the MMA fighters are going to have to deal with. Whether it means walking around when fights aren’t scheduled a little closer to that fight weight, whether it means, which hopefully it does, being educated through us and through others on how to properly orally rehydrate. The studies and science show that as long as the dehydration isn’t too severe oral rehydration is actually better for you. It’s safer for you. Studies show that you’ll feel like exercise is a little bit easier and you’re exerting less if you orally hydrate.”
Interestingly, the team is keeping samples and are looking at keeping theses samples for long so as to have a drug to use in the future and make the necessary improvements on it once the technology become more advanced.
“Even if there wasn’t a definitive test now, there could be two or three years from now.”
According to Novitsky, there are two methods that are used to test for when to use the IV rehydration. One method is by biological passport while the other one is a test that can detect plastic particles. Another thing though, that needs to be taken into consideration about the ban is when a fighter gets hospitalized, then he is allowed to use this kind of method. But, having that fact can be a loophole in the ban since the commission could remove the filter from a scheduled fight once this incident occurs.
When Novitsky was appointed as the vice president of the athletic health and performance of the UFC, he did not know how often the MMA fighters would use IV’s to hydrate.
Now that Novitsky is aware, he wants to make a difference and make things right and make sure that being in the position, he will do his job well. He is very much concerned as to how the MMA athletes will turn out if they will continue the use of this method. Also, as this can affect the anti-doping tests to the point of defeating it. He is also very much concerned about how the fighters can extremely reduce their weights.
“What was surprising to me was the prevalence of its use in this sport, not necessarily to try to defeat anti-doping tests, but for rehydration purposes. That and the extreme weight cuts that were going on. That was a surprise.”