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Ref says MMA fighters can't drink coffee or caffeinated soda before a fight

According to a Jan. 14 tweet from "Big" John McCarthy, the legendary UFC referee says most athletic commissions do not allow MMA fighters to drink coffee or caffeinated soda immediately before a fight.

"No most ACs only allow Water/Gatorade no caffeine “@EricHolden: @JohnMcCarthyMMA Can fighters drink coffee/soda immediately before a fight?” McCarthy tweeted.

McCarthy, a head referee for hundreds of bouts in major MMA promotions dating back to 1993, knows his stuff when it comes to official MMA rules, so it's hard to argue with him on the matter.

Most high-level MMA brawlers already were well aware that they are not allowed to use alcohol, stimulants, drugs or injections immediately before their fights, but not many knew coffee and caffeinated soda were also on the banned substance list.

Besides coffee and soda, MMA fighters may not take antidiarrheals, such as Imodium, Kaopectate or Pepto-Bismol, at any time before or during a fight.

Also off limits are antihistamines for colds or allergies, such as Bromphen, Brompheniramine, Chlorpheniramine Maleate, Chlor-Trimeton, Dimetane, Hismal, PBZ, Seldane, Tavist-1 or Teldrin.

In the summer of 2012, the UFC released an official list of banned substances, which included marijuana and several other performance-enhancing drugs.

"It is important to continue educating our athletes on the dangers of PEDs and other banned substances," the UFC's executive vice-president and general counsel, Lawrence Epstein, said. "Additionally, no new UFC or Strikeforce promotional agreement will become effective before the athlete has provided a clean PED test result.

"PED and banned substance usage harms the integrity of sport, potentially compromises the safety of our athletes, raises concerns for both short and long-term health issues and sends an improper message to our fanbase," Epstein added. "We will continue to be at the forefront of this issue. And we will continue to work with athletic commissions and other bodies to ensure — to the fullest extent possible — that testing procedure keep pace with scientific advancements regarding the identification and detection of prohibited substances."

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