Is State Athletic Commission Urine Testing Adequate?
By Bryanna Fissori
In 2009 Floyd Mayweather accused Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao of using PEDs (Steroids) based on a dispute over the style of drug testing that would be used before and after the fight. Since then Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Sr. have continued to assert that Pacquiao is on PEDs. Pacquiao has since filed suit against Mayweather Jr. and Sr. as well as Roger Mayweather, Mayweather Promotions, LLC., Richard Schaefer and Oscar De La Hoya. You can read more about the litigation at BoxingInsider.com.
The two fighters began negotiating for a welterweight title fight which was tentatively scheduled for March of 2010, but never evolved due to the drug testing hold up. Mayweather insisted that Pacquiao agree to Olympic-style blood testing, which is more rigorous than the Nevada State Athletic Commission and that of other state commissions. According the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), Olympic-style testing allows for blood to be drawn at any time pre or post fight. The agency also asserts that blood testing is a more complete method of searching for PEDs because substances such as Human Growth Hormone (HGH), synthetic hemoglobin and erythropoietin which cannot be indentified in urine. It is undisputed the Pacquiao has never tested positive for steroids or any other drugs in his 15 years or so as a fighter.
In May of 2010 Pacquiao agreed to submit to blood testing up to two weeks prior to the bout and immediately after. Various media sources over the last several years have asserted that part of Pacquiao’s hesitation stems from both superstition about giving blood close to the fight and anxiety about the actual procedure, which is a fear a vast number of people can relate to. Top Rank Promotions politely denied an interview to confirm or deny the assertions due to their relativity to the active litigation.
In 2005 Fans may recall that Pacquiao submitted to a random blood test two days prior to his bout with Erik Morales. Pacquiao lost the fight. Coupled with the blood drawn, the Pac Man also lost a good amount of blood in the ring, not that it is any excuse for the loss, but it seems logical that testing after the bout would be just as adequate.
It appears that the Mayweathers may be a bit out of touch with mainstream media as they must not be reading the same articles as the rest of boxing’s followers. Last month (March 2011), Roger Mayweather stated in an interview with the Philippines Daily Inquirer, “I’m not saying that Pacquiao is not a good fighter but what I am saying is this. A guy fights with something in him, he ain’t basing that on his skills and ability as a fighter, he’s basing that on something that energizes him to do what the f**k he’s doing.”
The language of the quote asserts as a fact, that Pacquiao is using something internally to better his skills implying PEDs. Given that the pending lawsuit relates to very similar statements, perhaps no one has explained to the Mayweathers what the legal term “defamation” means, though it does not appear that there has been a motion granted for an injunction to cease furtherance of such assertions by the defendants. And there has definitely been no ceasing.
In BoxingInsider.com’s interview with Travis Tygart, Chief Executive of the USADA he stated, “In order to most effectively detect and deter the use of performance enhancing substances in sport, as well as protect clean athletes’ rights to compete on a level playing field, the development of a testing plan takes into consideration a number of factors including; available information on doping trends in a particular sport; scientific research indicating at which point in a training regimen a prohibited substance might provide the greatest performance-enhancing benefits, and specific intelligence on doping practices. USADA uses all available information to determine when and where attempts to cheat sport are most likely to occur.”
When Mayweather fought Shane Mosley in May of 2010, Mosley agreed to Mayweather’s demand for Olympic-style testing. Each fighter was tested eight times. Results of all testing by the USADA are available to the public and the samples will be stored with the USADA for eight years in the event that they may need to be re-tested. Pacquiao will face Mosley next month in the ring.
According to Tygart and the USADA, “What we see in sport, is that it is extremely difficult to both police and promote a sport. When a sport body takes on the primary task of promoting events, drawing fans, and raising revenue, there will be a natural reluctance and tension to put in place a stringent testing program which could remove a fighter from competition and ultimately negatively affect one of these greater priorities. An improved anti-doping testing program is something can certainly be implemented in boxing and the MMA both from a cost and feasibility standpoint.”
The debate of Olympic-style versus state commission testing is not specific to the Pacquiao, Mayweather confrontation. In June of 2010 mixed martial arts fighter Josh Koscheck suggested Olympic-style testing for his bout against George St. Pierre for the their match up following The Ultimate Fighter 12 reality series conclusion. St. Pierre agreed to the change in standards. The UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) like boxing, typically uses the state commission standards.
After the St. Pierre/ Koscheck pre-fight interview UFC President Dana White was quoted in the Vegas Sun as stating, “I think that’s what an athletic commission is for. The athletic commissions have been around for a long time. When fighters start talking about other guys being drug tested? Shut up. Worry about you.”