A controversial new rule change has the UFC community divided.
In its partnership with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) the UFC has announced IV’s containing more than 50ml of saline will now be banned.
But the UFC and USADA drug-testers believe many fighters are misusing the IV rehydration program to blood boost.
This is where blood that has been taken from the fighter on a previous occasion is fed back in intravenously moments before the bout. There are super benefits to this: Blood carries oxygen, so having more blood means more energy fuelling the body.
There are also super risks associated with the practice: The fighter’s blood pressure goes through the roof! They’re vascular system is pushed to the limit as excess blood strains the carrying capacity of the arteries and veins.
The process was first used by competitive cyclists; a sport where a cardiovascular advantage means the difference between winning and being dropped by everyone else in the race.
But not everyone is happy with the ban on 50ml+ saline replacement.
According to an article in Bloody Elbow many influential fighters and trainers believe it will damage the health of competitors. Mike dolce, a famous and well respected nutritionist and weight-cut advisor, believes the IV ban will make fighters more susceptible to brain injuries.
Fluid serves to cushion the brain from impact. Less fluid means less protection.
“Someone will die because of that,” said dolce on Periscope Q&A.
“Let the USADA officials stand there and watch every athlete on a drip, that’s fine.
“I know they’re trying to get rid of drugs, which I think is awesome. But you can’t risk the health of the athlete. It’s just so close-minded. It’s dangerous.”
But not everyone agrees.
George Lockhart, a top MMA nutritionist, believed that when done properly oral rehydration is just as effective as intra-venous rehydration.
“There are a lot of potential downsides to IV rehydration,” he said to Bloody Elbow. “If you have too much fluid or too many electrolytes you can have some backlash, like diarrhoea among other things.”
“If you look at all the studies between oral rehydration and IV rehydration, if they rehydrate properly orally, they’ll gain the same weight back.
“If they don’t know how to rehydrate properly then it’s probably better to use the IV.
“But if they know how to rehydrate properly there’s no advantage to using an IV.”
The UFC fighters have been given until October before the ban will be enforced.