Islam Makhachev successfully defended his lightweight title against Alexander Volkanovski to claim the top slot in the UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings. The UFC lightweight champion’s legacy has been solidified, but Makhachev’s story has been slightly tarnished by a failed drug test from 2016.
In April 2016, Makhachev was slated to compete in his third UFC match against Drew Dober. The Dagestani star tested positive for the illegal drug Meldonium, therefore a day before the event, the booking was cancelled.
The World Anti-Doping Organization (WADA) banned the substance on January 1, 2016, despite the fact that it is used to treat ischemia and there is substantial evidence that athletes used it to boost performance.
After his lone career loss, there were some initial concerns about Makhachev passing a drug test. The Dagestani athlete, however, was exempt from punishment since the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) determined that he was “without fault or negligence.”
Additionally, it was discovered that Makhachev received a prescription for the medication after undergoing a “radio frequency ablation surgery for frequent ventricular arrhythmia” in 2014.
After five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova tested positive for the substance in 2016, meldonium gained notoriety. Despite claiming that the medicine had been administered to him to treat his diabetes and magnesium shortage, Sharapove was given a two-year suspension.
Islam Makhachev claims Russian atheletes were getting Meldonium tablets like vitamins
Russia has lost 48 Olympic medals as a result of widespread, state-sponsored doping. Russia giving fighters Meldonium prior to the WADA ban may not come as much of a surprise given the large number of athletes found doping at the Olympic games (150).
Islam Makhachev, the lightweight champion of the UFC, claimed that athletes for the Russian national teams were given Meldonium tablets like vitamins. Before defeating Charles Oliveira to win the lightweight championship, the Dagestani fighter said the following in an interview with UFC Russia:
“Later, when I had issues with USADA, I became more concerned. despite the fact that it was only meldonium. It was administered like vitamins to Russian players on the national teams… Mildronate [meldonium] was administered to every national team. I continue to believe that there is institutional bias towards Russian athletes.”
Makhachev contends that being reported to USADA had a greater impact on him than his one career setback.