Legal Breakdown of Alistair Overeem’s UFC 209 IV Use

It is well understood that the UFC-USADA custom tailored anti-doping policy (“ADP”) generally prohibits Intravenous Infusions.  What is not quite as well understood are the exceptions to this rule and the need to comply with overlapping regulatory requirements.

After UFC 209 it was revealed that Alistair Overeem used an IV prior to his bout against Mark Hunt.  As transcribed by MMAJunkie, at the post fight press conference Dana White noted that

(He was) throwing up and all the other pleasantries of food poisoning for 24 hours. He was in the hospital, we brought him home, and then we had to bring him back to the hospital. They had to fill him with bags of fluids and IVs, and at one point he was afraid to leave his room because he couldn’t stop throwing up and everything else.

Overeem went on to confirm as follows:

We went through all the steps necessary…I got really sick and yesterday at the weigh-ins I was out. I was low-energy. I put on my acting face, but I had like zero energy. If I felt today as I felt yesterday I would not have been able to perform. I went to the hospital, got an IV, took something to help me sleep. I could get some food in yesterday before sleeping and recovered kind of OK“.

So what are the “steps necessary” Overeem is alluding to?  There is overlapping regulatory jurisdiction for this bout, namely the rules of UFC/USADA’s ADP and those of the Nevada Athletic Commission.

The ADP adopts the WADA list of prohibited methods which bans the following methods of chemical and physical manipulation –


So, if Overeem’s IV use was administrated legitimately “in the course of hospital admission” it is not a rule violation nor is a Therapeutic Use Exemption (“TUE”) needed.

If his IV use was out of hospital then he could request a TUE, either immediately or retroactively, for its use.

Turning to Nevada’s rules things differ somewhat.

Nevada recently overhauled their anti-doping regulations and specifically adopted WADA’s prohibited ‘methods‘ so they too generally ban IV use.

However, in the overhaul, Nevada carved out a restriction to granting retroactive TUE’s.  Specifically Nevada stripped the NAC of power to grant a retroactive TUE for a bout which has already taken place with the rule reading as follows:


If Overeem used his IV outside of hospital, and if he was not granted a TUE for its use ahead of time that would amount to an anti doping violation under Nevada rules and one that cannot be remedied.


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