Alexander Volkanovski’s coach Joe Lopez has revealed information that he had heard about Islam Makhachev’s team requesting IVs for the blockbuster title fight at UFC 284.
The Russian denied Volkanovski’s victory on home soil by winning the thrilling main event in Perth by a unanimous decision 28-27, 28-27, 29-26.
The loss was the Australian’s first in the UFC after 22 consecutive wins, but Volkanovski and many fans and pundits insisted he should have been given the call.
After the fight, New Zealand UFC star Dan Hooker made bombshell claims that Makhachev had “cheated” by using an intravenous (IV) drip to help rehydrate him ahead of the fight.
Joe Lopez, Volkanovski’s longtime head coach, told Daily Mail Australia he heard that IV bags had been sent to the Russian team’s rooms before the superfight.
Joe Lopez, Alexander Volkanovski’s coach, has revealed information that he had heard about Islam Makhachev’s team requesting IVs for the blockbuster title fight at UFC 284
The loss was the Australian’s first in the UFC after 22 consecutive wins, but Volkanovski and many fans and pundits insisted he should have been given the decision (Joe Lopez pictured with Alex Volkanovski)
“I heard about the IV before the fight,” he told Daily Mail Australia.
“We didn’t say anything to Alex. We kept that to ourselves. We knew about it then.
“There’s a smoking gun over there. I find it uncomfortable, unless I witness it, it’s hard for me to accuse anyone. What we do know, and it’s hearsay, (is that) there was an IV company that they approached and went to the hotel room.
“They’ve ordered IVs for that room. There are too many stories.’
The use of an IV to rehydrate was banned in the UFC in October 2015 following a decision by the USADA.
This rule was relaxed slightly in 2019, with dehydrated fighters now allowed to take 100ml or less of IVs in any 12-hour period, as long as it’s administered by a medical professional.
UFC fighters who break the rules can be banned from the sport for up to two years.
Lopez believes the rules were probably broken, but it will be hard to prove.
“When the girl (from the IV delivery service) got there, they apparently wanted her to drop off the bags (and leave), but she said she couldn’t. It was against company policy,” Lopez said.
UFC fighters who break the rules can be banned from the sport for up to two years (photo by Islam Makhachev)
Lopez believes the rules were probably broken, but it will be hard to prove
“They (the Russian team) said they wanted her to put some vitamins in the IV bag and she said, ‘I don’t know what that is, I’m not doing it’.
“Those guys are quite intimidating and started bouncing her and she called her boss and the boss said, leave the bags and get out of here, and that’s what they did.”
Lopez says he has no problem using IVs to rehydrate — as long as the rules are clear and all fighters are on the same page. But he thinks some fighters are breaking the rules.
“I hope they put an end to it. Either everyone uses it or no one uses it,” he said.
“I have texts and stuff I’ve seen from certain people in the UFC saying 90% of the UFC roster use IVs and stuff. I just wrote back, we are probably the 10% that don’t.
“Some of these guys take nine hours to get back to normal (after weight loss). You get an IV and within 20 minutes you are back to normal.
Lopez says use of IVs is concerning because it can mask use of performance-enhancing drugs
Islam Makhachev’s team has denied claims that he used an IV before the fight, and no further evidence has emerged to show the Russian did anything illegal while rehydrating.
“The bad thing about them is that they use them to mask other things — diuretics or performance-enhancing drugs — it masks all of that, and that’s why they stopped.”
Islam Makhachev’s team has denied claims that he used an IV before the fight, and no further evidence has emerged that the Russian did anything illegal while rehydrating in fight week.
Daily Mail Australia has reached out to numerous IV delivery companies in Perth to comment, but none have any information on the matter at time of publication.
Despite losing to the lightweight crown in Perth, Volkanovski has maintained his No. 1 ranking in the pound-for-pound rankings.