The Problem With Rumored USADA IV Exemption

Update – Donald Cerrone now says he was only joking about having a TUE for IV use .

Cerrone Tweet____________________

Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone has apparently been given a Therapeutic Use Exemption allowing him to rehydrate via an otherwise banned IV by the United States Anti Doping Agency ahead of his upcoming UFC lightweight title bout.

If true his opponent, Rafael Dos Anjos, is none too pleased with this arguing it gives the challenger an unfair advantage.

So does Cerrone meet USADA’s TUE requirements for IV use?  Arguably not.  Here’s why –

The UFC’s Anti Doping Policy allows for TUE’s provided the prohibited substance or method is taken in a way that is “consistent with the provisions of a TUE granted by USADA“.

TUE’s are to be granted by USADA’s Therapeutic Use Exemption Committee.  Interestingly the Anti-Doping Policy and the TUE policy appear to be silent on the standards the TUEC will use.

If there are no standards I suppose they are free to make it up as they go along which can be a story in itself.  If, however, USADA is applying WADA standards Cerrone appears to not meet the criteria.

The WADA criteria for granting a TUE are as follows –

a. The Athlete would experience a significant impairment to health if the Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method were to be withheld in the course of treating an acute or chronic medical condition.

b. The Therapeutic Use of the Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method would produce no additional enhancement of performance other than that which might be anticipated by a return to a state of normal health following the treatment of a legitimate medical condition. The Use of any Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method to increase “lownormal” levels of any endogenous hormone is not considered an acceptable Therapeutic intervention.

c. There is no reasonable Therapeutic alternative to the Use of the otherwise Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method.

d. The necessity for the Use of the otherwise Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method cannot be a consequence, wholly or in part, of the prior Use, without a TUE, of a substance or method which was prohibited at the time of Use.

Cerrone’s medical condition requiring an IV to rehydrate is missing intestines.  Applying the above test this ‘condition‘ is problematic in a few ways.

Leaving aside the fact that an IV does nothing to “treat” missing intestines as required by paragraph a, paragraph c is clearly not met as there is a “reasonable alternative” to using an IV.  Not dehydrating in the first place.

Rapid Extreme Weight Cuts are perhaps the biggest danger in the sport with many documented injuries and even death.  Avoiding extreme dehydration will take away the need for IV re hydration.  Accordingly it difficult to see how the WADA TUE policy can be met in these circumstances.

An application for such a TUE is problematic in its own right as it is an admission by a fighter that they plan to dehydrate so profoundly 24 hours before a bout that they”would experience a significant impairment to health” absent medical intervention which no regulator should allow.

If USADA’s TUE Committee is not applying WADA standards that begs the question of exactly what standards are they adhering to?  I have asked USADA about their TUE standards and will update this article if/when they reply.

Tweet to USADA re TUE Standards

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