After Dan Hooker’s accusation of Islam Makhachev cheating, Matt Brown discusses IV use among fighters


Dan Hooker lobbed wild accusations at Islam Makhachev for cheating in the wake of his win over Alexander Volkanovski following UFC 284.

The veteran UFC lightweight, who actually lost to Makhachev back in 2021, claimed that the Russian hired a nurse to administer an IV to help him rehydrate after his weight cut. Hooker said that “Islam is cheating” and then blasted the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADAP) for “f***ing all”.

To date, no evidence has ever been provided to show that Makhachev did anything illegal but even if he did take an IV to rehydrate after weigh-ins, UFC welterweight Matt Brown isn’t confident it would have really changed the outcome of the fight.

“I don’t think it actually makes a difference personally,” Brown said on The Fighter vs. The Writer. “I’ve dropped pretty significant amounts of weight with or without IV’s and I don’t think ultimately it does make a difference.”

Fighters are prohibited from using IV’s after the UFC established an anti-doping program. They must follow strict guidelines or face possible punishment.

In a response to Hooker’s allegations, USADA representatives sent MMA Fighting a statement stating that all charges are being investigated and providing further information on IV use by fighters.

“USADA takes all reports of possible violations seriously and we actively follow up on all information we receive,” USADA officials stated.

“Under the UFC Prohibited List, all IV infusions and/or injections of more than 100 mL per 12-hour period are prohibited at all times, except for those legitimately received in the course of hospital admissions, surgical procedures or clinical diagnostic investigations, and/or those received in-competition or out-of-competition 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). A TUE must be obtained for any prohibited substance administered intravenously via infusion, injection or other means.

Brown says he almost always used IV’s rehydrate after weigh-ins prior to the introduction of the UFC’s anti-doping policy. In fact, he actually learned how to give himself the IV so he wouldn’t even need a nurse or other medical professional to help him with the injections.

All that changed when USADA was brought onboard to manage the UFC’s antidoping program. Brown never used an IV after then, but it hasn’t affected his performance.

“From what I understand, the IV’s help you immediately within like a couple of hours and they rehydrate you quicker than you would just drinking, but over a 24-hour period, it doesn’t actually change anything anyway,” Brown explained. That’s exactly what you’ll hear from the scientific community. It’s the result of all the research. Your rehydration is basically identical after 24 hours whether you did an IV or not.

“Now, the feeling that you get after getting that IV and feeling refreshed pretty quickly and your weight comes back and you’re able to digest foods, and you’re peeing again, I think it is a good feeling. It’s a placebo effect, but it can be a positive feeling and can even help you mentally

Brown admits using an IV after weight-ins was a bonus, however, other than potentially spike the cocktail with another substance, Brown never felt different as he got ready for fights the following day.

While he obviously can’t speak for Makhachev much less presume what he was doing after his own weight cut, Brown never personally felt like the IV gave him some kind of competitive advantage over an opponent.

“To me it never made a difference,” Brown said. “Maybe for some guys it does make a difference to be refreshed better because now you’re back to whether it’s 80, 90, 100 percent of yourself within a couple of hours versus maybe six, seven, or eight hours without having an IV. Maybe that makes a difference. Maybe you digest your food a little better.

“I’m not sure but for me, I never noticed a difference. It didn’t bother me when they removed IV’s.

Brown added that if anything, using an IV might serve as a mental crutch for a fighter because quicker rehydration may make a person feel like they’re suddenly supercharged but in reality the physical advantages aren’t that great, especially 24 hours later.

” The only difference that I noticed was I could get back to my weight faster,” Brown stated. “When we’d back to the hotel and check your weight just for fun like how much did I put on and I’d put on 15 or 20 pounds sometimes within two or three hours of weighing in. I’m weighing 185 to 190 pounds after weighing 171 pounds two hours before. It’s obvious that your weight will increase faster when you use IV’s. Your body’s going to soak that up a lot quicker than when you just start drinking water.

“Placebo effect is real. It’s just as strong as the real thing. It’s just as strong as the real thing.

Of course, Brown has also heard other fighters tell him horror stories about using an IV versus those who have benefitted from the practice. Either way, Brown knows from his own history that IV’s never really made that much of a difference for him — at least where the fight was concerned.

” I’ve heard of people saying they feel worse after getting IVs,” Brown stated. They felt full and heavier, so I think they probably had too many IVs. They probably took like three or four bags and just overdid it. This is normal for extremist fighters. I’ve heard people say that after they weren’t allowed to do IV’s that they didn’t feel right ever again. I’ve heard both ends of that spectrum. It all comes down to how you focus. Like if you’re thinking about it, there’s the placebo effect probably going on.

“To me, I’ve never noticed a difference. That’s about as far as I can comment on it because I can only go on my own experience.”