Extreme weight cutting, especially before weigh ins, is a common practice for MMA fighters. What most fans do not know is that these fighters cut huge amounts of weight in such a short period of time in order to qualify and fight in a certain weight class. In some amateur bouts, fighters are even expected to hit the required weight limit and compete just hours after the weigh-in. To get them back into tip-top fighting condition, fighters are allowed to rehydrate themselves after the bouts or weigh ins and the best way to do this really quick is through IV rehydration.
This is why a lot of UFC fighters are very concerned with USADA’s new policy regarding the banning of IV rehydration, which would be effective starting October. The new rule was meant to be implemented starting July 1, but the outrage from numerous athletes across the globe had USADA postpone the implementation and allow more time for the athletes to adjust.
In a nutshell, the new policy states that fighters will only be allowed to use IV fluids more than 50 ml if there is a medical emergency and that a TUE permit, or Therapeutic Use Exemptions permit, is secured. With numerous cases where the use of steroids and other banned substances are still very rampant in every sport, it is remarkable that the UFC is taking all the necessary measures in order to make sure that all the athletes are playing the sport fairly. The new policy aims to prevent athletes from potentially masking banned substances and other performance-enhancing drugs from being detected during blood testing. However, the usage of IV fluids is one of the most common measures being done by athletes to prevent themselves from getting any injury caused by dehydration. From a reasonable standpoint, it is indeed appropriate to implement measures that would prevent athletes from cheating, but it will not discount the fact that abiding to this policy may probably cause fatal health problems to the athletes.
Numerous MMA fighters are now starting to raise their concerns regarding this policy. A lot of MMA athletes are stating that this new policy would greatly affect their qualifications and would send majority of the fighters into different weight divisions. The others are concerned about their health and their chances of getting knocked out during the bouts because they are not hydrated enough.
Majority of the MMA fighters spoke their minds and stood their ground against this policy, but so far, there is one who did not oppose to the new policy. Former lightweight and welterweight champion BJ Penn proudly said, via Twitter, that he never took an IV after the weigh in ever. He credited his weight-cutting guru in handling his nutritional needs. He also said that MMA fighters who depend on IV fluids and PED (to get back the fluids they cut) are wimps and should ‘suck it up’.
With the health and other concerns being raised regarding this new policy, it is still unclear how the athletes would be able fully adjust to this new rule or if this policy would be implemented at all. One thing’s for certain though, with the upcoming implementation of the new policy, MMA fighters are now looking into possible restructuring of new weight classes.