Islam Makhachev tested positive for PEDs five years ago – but it’s not what you think

UFC lightweight contender Islam Makhachev was once suspended by USADA for using heart medication.

Only several days left before the kick off of UFC 280 where Islam Makhachev will face former lightweight champion Charles Oliveira for the vacant belt. This will be Makhachev’s first time headlining a UFC major event.

The former champ Charles Oliveira was stripped off of his lightweight belt after missing weight at UFC 274 back in May. The Brazilian defeated title challenger Justin Gaethje, but will have to get another win to reclaim his belt. And number 4 lightweight contender Islam Makhachev was chosen to be his next opponent.

Many fans wondered if Makhachev would put on his best performance on October 23, remembering that the Dagestan sensation had problems with heart disease and underwent a surgery.

Islam Makhachev underwent surgery back in 2016 and was supposed to face Chris Wade at UFC on FOX 19. He was asked about the surgery during his appearance at RT MMA last year and described the problem he was facing.

“I didn’t want my close ones to worry about it. It was not a big deal. Not that kind of a serious heart surgery when they open up your chest and operate in there. It’s called RFA (radiofrequency ablation), I still remember how it’s called. It’s not considered a complicated procedure, although there is no simple operation when it comes to the heart.” Makhachev said.

Makhachev also confirmed that the surgery is likely won’t affect his performance in the octagon.

“When I asked my doctor if it was a complicated operation and if it could affect my whole career, he told me there was a biathlonist – his name was Malyshko, he won the Olympics just months after this kind of operation. So I felt relieved then. I knew it would not hurt my career, vice versa, it would only do good.” Makhachev added.

However, the 31-year-old faced trouble due to taking heart medication. The USADA pulled him out from his bout against Drew Dober one day before the showdown. Later on, the USADA announced that Makhachev is not at fault for a PED violation.

“After a thorough review of the case, USADA concluded that the extremely low meldonium concentration in the athlete’s urine sample, combined with the athlete’s explanation of use, was consistent with ingestion prior to the substance being officially prohibited on January 1, 2016. Based on the latest guidance offered by WADA on June 30, 2016, for cases involving meldonium, Makhachev will not face a period of ineligibility for his positive test.” The organization announced.