Eugene Bareman isn’t going all in on the recent accusations levied against Islam Makhachev, but he’s not completely satisfied with the situation either.
Following Makhachev’s win over Alexander Volkanovski this past weekend at UFC 284, Volkanovski’s City Kickboxing teammate Dan Hooker accused the lightweight champion of illegally using an IV to rehydrate ahead of his champion vs. champion matchup with Volkanovski. IVs were once a regularly used to aid in recovery from weight cuts, but became highly restricted following a rule change in 2016.
Currently, IV infusions and/or injections that exceed 100 ml during a 12-hour period are prohibited, according to USADA guidelines.
City Kickboxing coach Eugene Bareman appeared on The MMA Hour Wednesday to discuss the fight and share his thoughts on the controversy.
“We have reliable information to a point,” Bareman said when asked about Hooker’s accusation. “I will half plead the fifth. Can you half plead the fifth? The two and a half? The information falls short because for several reasons, and one of them is that you can actually take an IV before a fight. It just has to be 100 ml of saline every 12 hours, in a 12-hour block. So what it has to come down to is whether you believe that people are going to take this saline, 100 ml, and then stop.
“And the fact that from that team there were two fighters from that same team and the information can’t reliably tell us yet which fighter illegally hydrated or whether they went over 100 ml. But I don’t know, no information can tell us without a doubt that someone in their team used an IV badge to rehydrate, which is not illegal if you used 100 ml. You’ve just got to ask yourself if it’s only 100 ml you’ve got to use for 12 hours, why would you even bother?”
On Monday, Makhachev’s co-manager Rizvan Magomedov seemingly tweeted out a response to the allegations, writing, “Jealous losers speeding lies, eventually this is all you can do.”
Jealous losers speeding lies, eventually this is all you can do
— Rizvan Magomedov (@Rizvan_RM) February 14, 2023
Magomedov later told MMA Junkie, “We all know this is completely B.S. [Hooker] is a loser. He’s salty and just looking for attention, and that’s it.”
Bareman wouldn’t go as far as to dismiss Hooker’s claim, but he said that he cautioned against Hooker commenting on the situation.
“I advised Dan against even talking about it,” Bareman said. “Look, as you can see, that information has holes in it, that’s what I’m alluding to, but also there’s enough information there for to be like, ‘Eeeh…’ This is why Alex and the rest of the team are laughing because we’re like, something’s going on there, we just can’t reliably say what it is.
“It’s frustrating because the whole sport should be played on an even playing field. Then again, you can’t reliably say that Islam cheated, so I wouldn’t go out there and say that in the manner that Dan did. That’s just—I don’t think you can reliable say that. But something was going on there.”
Bareman went on to clarify that he believes it’s possible that either Makhachev or teammate Zubaira Tukhugov could have been making improper use of IVs. Tukhugov missed weight by 1.5 pound for a lightweight contest with Elves Brener, then went on to lose a close split decision.
“Either it was Zubaira or whether it was Islam, something’s gone on there,” Bareman said. “If it was Zubaira and not Islam, then Islam should be distanced. If anyone on my team was doing something illegal, then I would immediately distance the team from that person. Maybe something will come out in the wash, maybe it won’t, but I think the more important thing is to focus on the fight and not worry about that so much. And the fight was — what a fight.
“Congratulations to Islam and Javier and his other coaches who I’m not so familiar with, but congratulations to those guys, they won. And congratulations to Alex. I’m super proud of Alex and what he was able to do and we’ll move on. Give us the next big challenge because that’s what these guys do.”