Dillian Whyte Suggests Joshua Couldn’t ‘juice’ Due to VADA Testing
By: Michael Kane
Dillian Whyte has had his say on former opponent Anthony Joshua’s defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr on Saturday night in New York.
Many observers felt Joshua was out of sorts with reports that Joshua’s father wanted him to pull out of the fight beforehand.
Joshua also seemed overly gracious in defeat, in what some have construed as a relief that the pressure of being champion was now gone.
It seems Whyte picked up on this.
“He seemed scared, not bothered, he was running, he was jabbing out of range, he was retreating, he had his left hand down,” he said on his official YouTube channel.
“When he got hurt he didn’t know whether to hold or tie up. He seemed like he wasn’t bothered, like he didn’t want to be there.
“Maybe he couldn’t deal with the pressure anymore, he just seemed like he was there to collect his money. He said he was the landlord but he failed to collect the rent.”
Whyte then suggested an all together different theory that due to Joshua fighting in America and VADA testing in place he couldn’t use Therapeutic Use Exception (TUE) and that was in fact the reason he didnt show up.
“He said to his coach ‘why do I feel like this?’, because you’re in America with the VADA testing and you’re not on the juice that’s why,” Whyte said.
“It’s harder to get therapeutic use exemptions in America than the UK, that’s why.”
Whyte feels Joshua will ultimately come back and will avenge his defeat against Ruiz Jr.
“He’ll live and learn, at the end of the day I’ve had a loss, he’s big and strong enough to come back, he’s an olympic champion, former world champion, he’ll be back bigger and stronger,” Whyte said.
“I still believe he will beat Andy Ruiz Jr in the rematch, you need to look at his camp, he needs to look at what he did wrong, where he went wrong.
“He’s got a very experienced camp with Rob McCracken behind him. Maybe he should have gone to America two months or a month before the fight, you don’t know.”
Photo credit Dillian Whyte Twitter account
The Scarlet Letter: Brock Lesnar, USADA and Retirement
By: Jesse Donathan
Did Brock Lesnar retire from mixed martial arts because he failed another USADA prohibited drug test? “If you were a level of conspiracy theorist, or as we do over here, we just simply speculate, and visit, and talk, there is some clues to point to that is a possibility, said Bad Guy Inc. CEO Chael Sonnen in his May 9, 2019 YouTube video titled, “Did Brock Lesnar fail a USADA drug test and retire?” An ESPN analyst and current Bellator fighter, Sonnen is a former UFC middleweight challenger who counts UFC President Dana White among his friends. In other words, Sonnen is an industry insider and someone you should listen to when he has something to say.
Sonnen, who once famously thrashed Anderson Silva in the Brazilians’ prime before succumbing to a come from behind triangle armbar submission in the fifth and final round went on to list a litany of reasons of why its possible that rumors of a Lesnar failed USADA drug test could possibly be true:
“The first of which is Brock Lesnar retired out of nowhere, he retired out of nowhere after taking a lesser WWE schedule, he retired out of nowhere after going into training for 12 full months. He retired out of nowhere after entering and clearing the USADA protocol of things that he had to pay for from his last outing at UFC 200 against Mark Hunt.”
As Sonnen correctly surmises, Lesnar’s abrupt retirement from MMA came out of left field. Everything was pointing to a Lesnar return to the cage; he had been training with Gable Stevenson, one of the top collegiate wrestlers in the country at the University of Minnesota and had shoved the UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier across the octagon at UFC 226 in a picture-perfect promo in the lead up to the fight. “It looked like all; everything was a go. He had a world title fight, he had a main event, he had a huge pay day, he had Daniel Cormier standing in front of him,” Sonnen exclaimed, and out of nowhere, Lesnar retires.
“Guys, I don’t want to add to something right now, I want to come to you candidly and tell you that I do not have information but I am starting to hear things from people who generally do have the correct information that perhaps that wasn’t totally wrong,” Sonnen said on the rumors of a Lesnar issue with USADA that went ignored by the MMA media when the information first started trickling out.
“The new way that USADA is operating, okay, I’ll remind you of the old way first. Which was a guy flags, boom! They put out a boilerplate statement, the only thing they change between athletes is simply the name. John Doe right, fill in the blank, and the whole rest of the uniform statement. We get it. But when USADA got confronted with five people who were later cleared and the USADA was able to look at it and go you know what, we didn’t total clear out, we cleared them, but in the world of PR and the mess they went through, in the minds eye, the day of the internet, the sponsors that were already lost, its just very hard to unfry that egg.”
The Bellator light heavyweight contender who lost to “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko in a valiant effort during the Bellator Heavyweight World Grand Prix Tournament last year at Bellator 208 went on to say of USADA’s new approach to handling athletes who may have flagged a prohibited substances test:
So, what we’re gonna do now is if we flag somebody, we are not going to say a word. They will very quietly not be booked for a contest but we will also very privately see the process through to the very end. And when we make our release, we will not only tell you who, what and when but we will also tell you what the remedy was. Whether it’s a disciplinary action or a clearing of the athlete. But we will present one statement to you in its entirety. Okay great, really good way to do things. There is now some people that are saying that they have dug into this and it’s the very spot Brock Lesnar is in.”
Prior to Sonnen’s fire side chat, Dave Metzler on Wrestling Observer Radio had suggested that the new UFC deal with ESPN had been a factor in Lesnar’s retirement, according to Sonnen that just isn’t the case.
“It is a very strange circumstance, and it seems that there was then a later dialogue that came in and said no, the reason Brock walked away is because the pay-per-view model has changed, and therefor he can’t collect his pay-per-view points and therefor he lost his enticement to do this. Now, that is, I can tell you now that is not what happened. I don’t know what happened, but I think it’s probably a pretty straight forward. One, either, we’re going to find something out in the next 45 days or two, and far more likely if I am being fair, far more likely, he started training and his body was just sore and tired and he wasn’t getting the same reaction as fast as he had in the past and he said I’m done.”
As reported by Foxsports.com in their January 4, 2017 article titled, “Brock Lesnar suspended one year by USADA after failing two drug tests,” the WWE superstar infamously, “tested positive for clomiphene and its metabolite, 4-hydroxyclomiphene, following an out-of-competition urine test conducted on June 28, 2016, and an in-competition urine test conducted on July 9, 2016, at UFC 200 in Las Vegas, Nev. Clomiphene is a prohibited substance in the category of Hormone and Metabolic Modulators and is prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.”
According to USADA.org, “In men, clomiphene can alter testosterone levels by interfering with the negative feedback loop of the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis.” Interestingly, the USADA description of clomiphene goes on to state that, “clomiphene is not FDA-approved for use by men for any condition,” but there are some exceptions to that claim as USADA goes on to state.
“However, it may be prescribed off-label, meaning that a doctor may prescribe a medication for a use that is not indicated on the FDA’s approved packaging insert or label. Once the FDA approves a drug, healthcare providers can typically prescribe the drug for an unapproved use when they judge that it is medically appropriate for their patient.”
The USADA clomiphene description goes on to state that, “In males, similar to other substances with anabolic properties that lead to increased muscle mass, clomiphene is associated with a number of potential and serious side effects, including: increased risk of negative cardiovascular events, liver damage, and gastrointestinal discomfort.”
In an April 24, 2012 bleacherreport.com article titled, “Brock Lesnar: Understanding Diverticulitis, the Illness That Changed His Life,” author Louie Babcock wrote that, “In November of 2009, Brock was diagnosed with mononucleosis, and later in the month it was discovered he had a serious case of diverticulitis.” According to Babcock, “Diverticulitis is a disease of the digestive tract, normally in the large intestine. On the colon of the patient, tiny pouches form. These pouches are called diverticula. When these pouches become inflamed, diverticulitis is diagnosed.” The bleacherreport.com article would go on to note that Lesnar suffered another bout of diverticulitis in May of 2011, retiring after his last match in December of 2011 against Alistair Overeem before coming out of retirement to face Mark Hunt at UFC 200 in 2016.
According to dopinglinkki.fi, “Clomiphene is a doping substance according to the Penal Code. Particularly men, who use anabolic steroids, commonly use clomiphene or other anti-estrogens (for example, tamoxifen) as an accompanying drug.”
Dopinglinkki.fi would go on to state that, “The purpose of clomiphene, in this case, is to inhibit the estrogen problems caused by the overdosed anabolic steroids, that appear when anabolic steroids convert in the body to estrogens or other metabolic products that have estrogenic effects.”
With Lesnar’s history of at least two bouts of diverticulitis in 2009 and 2011, one would think that Lesnar would have been weary of using Clomiphene, a drug described as causing “gastrointestinal discomfort” as one of its potential side effects. Which immediately brings me to one of the oldest questions plaguing mankind. Which came first? The chicken or the egg? The answer to that question could very well let many cats out of the bag.
According to thesmokinggun.com, “Brock Lesnar, the World Wrestling Entertainment champion, was once arrested for illegally possessing steroids, though the felony charge against the 26-year-old athlete was dismissed four months after his January 2001 arrest.” The report would go on to state:
“Lesnar was exonerated when tests showed that the seized pills were not, in fact, steroids. While a Louisville detective told TSG that the material was some kind of growth hormone, Lesnar’s defense attorney, Scott Cox, characterized the confiscated pills as a ‘vitamin type of thing.’”
Regardless of the true circumstances of Lesnar’s retirement(s), health problems and reported prohibited drug use, there is no question that Brock Lesnar is a huge draw for both the WWE and UFC. Former K-1 kickboxing champion Mark Hunt once famously sued UFC President Dana White, Lesnar and the UFC, accusing them of collusion, “in an effort to allow Lesnar to use performance enhancing drugs,” according to a February 15, 2019 ESPN.com article titled, “Judge dismisses most of Mark Hunts case Against UFC, Brock Lesnar,” by Brett Okamoto.
According to ESPN, “U.S. District Judge Jennifer A. Dorsey threw out all but one of the claims Hunt made against the UFC,” with the Judge ordering, “Hunt and the UFC to enter a mandatory settlement conference on the final outstanding claim — breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. That claim is against the UFC only. All of Hunt’s claims against White and Lesnar were dismissed.” Putting the pieces together, the extent of the breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing could potentially stretch back some time in this case with the reader being left to make up their own minds as to what the actual truth may be.
Miller Receives Six Month Suspension for Failed Drug Tests
By: Jesse Donathan
News broke Monday afternoon, April 29, 2019 that undefeated heavyweight boxer Jarrell Miller has officially been suspended for six months by the World Boxing Association (WBA) for his failed Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) performance enhancing drug tests. Miller tested positive for the prohibited substances GW1516, human growth hormone (HGH) and Erythropoietin (EPO) earlier this month, costing “Big Baby” Miller a respectable pay day and a shot at the world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in the process.
BoxingInsider.com remarked Monday afternoon on Twitter that Miller, “failed for three separate PED’s. Most of these guys don’t even fight every six months. So that “suspension” is no suspension at all, really.” Miller has received, for all intents and purposes, a smack on the wrist for multiple infractions that most people would consider of a fairly serious nature.
For those with intimate knowledge of the professional combat sports world, the use of performance enhancing drugs in the ring, cage or field of play will come to them as no surprise. It’s the open, dirty little secret among those in the know. The charade starts when fighters, managers and promoters alike attempt to spin the truth into a fantasy world of rainbows, unicorns and lollipops. The laughable notion that most of the elite professional athletes are clean, and it’s the dirty, evil doing minority spoiling the impeccable integrity of the sport for everyone else is always front and center as the various entities attempt to spin the truth in order to protect their own necks, legacies and paydays from the real truth.
In what I have long described as the most eye-opening article on the use of performance enhancing drugs in competitive sports that I have ever read, a November 11, 2008 Spiegel.de article titled, “The Dealer Olympias” details an interview with Angel Heredia, former coach and trainer to Olympian Marion Jones, who explains his insights into the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Spiegel would go on ask Heredia if he was planning to watch the 100-meter finals in Beijing, who replies, “Of course. But we will not experience a clean Olympic champion. Not even a clean participant.”
“Of eight runners,” Spiegel asks Heredia in an open-ended question, there, “will be eight doped,” explains Heredia. Spiegel then goes on to explain that Heredia can’t prove any of his statements however. “It’s undoubtedly like that,” explained Heredia who knows a thing or two about Olympic athletes doping. What this information should mean for you, the viewer, is that the most elite athletes across professional sports are also using performance enhancing drugs. While there will always be some exceptions to the rule, its almost a given that some of the biggest stars in combat sports today are also on the juice.
In an April 20, 2019 IFL TV YouTube video titled, “You are (Expletive) Disgusting – Fuming Eddie Hearn Rips into Jarrell Miller Over 3 Banned Substances,” the boxing promoter and Anthony Joshua representative had plenty to say on Jarrell Millers failed tests. “I am disgusted that someone would try and take these lengths, and gain these edges in a physical fight, especially against one of our fighters. Especially against a friend of mine. Honestly, its (expletive) it’s really, like, it’s made me question many things. Many things. Even the sport.”
“What do you think will happen to Miller,” the reporter asked. “He should be banned immediately,” in Hearn’s estimation. “He must have been unlucky,” Hearn told IFL TV. “He knows they’re coming and they’re coming every week. You can’t cheat the VADA system that we have in place I believe,” Hearn proclaimed as threw his hands up in the air almost as to convince us he has no other knowledge to the contrary. “I mean it’s, like I say, it has to be the worst case of drug results of all time,” said Hearn.
If Hearn honestly believes this is the worst case of drug results of all time, he probably hasn’t heard of former UFC title challenger and Bad Guy Inc. CEO Chael Sonnen who tested positive for HGH, EPO, anastrozole and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) according to a June 28, 2014 bleacherreport.com article titled, “Chael Sonnen Tests Positive for 4 Banned Substances in Latest Drug Test” by author Steven Rondina.
There is almost a mass psychosis occurring in the combat sports entertainment industry, where the promoters, fighters and fans alike refuse to acknowledge the truth and play into the politically correct lie in order to convince themselves their favorite athletes are naturally superhuman. As opposed to unnaturally superhuman, which drives advertisers and investors away who naturally seek to protect their investments by avoiding any kind of negative connotations associated with their brand.
And therein lays the problem, money drives deception, which in turn keeps the charade going despite the overwhelming evidence to suggest performance enhancing drug use in competitive sports is as sure of a bet as winners and losers on the field of play. Yet the demonization of athletes who fail performance enhancing drug tests continues, despite the reality being all they are really guilty of is getting caught. Otherwise they are only operating on the same field of play as everyone else, the only difference being some athletes get caught and others do not.
“I knew he knew that he was going to get tested,” Hearn told IFL TV. “What worries me more about this sport is, is these people know they are coming and they do that. What the (expletive) they doing when they know that they’re not coming?” Hearn would continue on with the same old, tired argument I have read for years from those espousing the rainbows, unicorns and lollipop fantasy about performance enhancing drug use in sports.
“I know what he’s put in the game, Joshua. So, you’re saying that you’re willing to take everything Joshua has earned in this sport, everything that he’s achieved, you’re willing to take that away by cheating. You know, that’s not fair. Take it away from Joshua on a level playing field, you deserve. You’re the best heavyweight on the planet. But don’t try and cheat the best heavyweight on the planet by being a super human man that gives you the physical edge to do it.”
According to an April 1, 2018 BBC article titled, “Anthony Joshua: From Watford to world champion” the young British boxing champion was, “brilliant at football and athletics and broke the year nine 100m record with a time of 11.6 seconds.” The BBC would go on to write that, “Anthony became very good at the sport of boxing very quickly, and had won all 18 fights at amateur level during his early 20s. He soon set a goal to become an Olympic champion. In 2012, Joshua won the gold medal in the super heavyweight category at the London Olympics.”
An April 29, 2019 mirror.co.uk article titled, “Boxing News: Dillan Whyte Accuses Anthony Joshua of ‘legally juicing’” author Rich Jones wrote that Whyte, “believes boxing has a bigger problem with fighters gaining Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) to allow them to use banned substances legally.”
“He has accused heavyweight rival Joshua as being amongst the offenders – something he believes could have contributed to Miller’s decision to try and cheat the system,” wrote the mirror in what, if true, is a fascinating parallel to the sport mixed martial arts (MMA) where TUE exemptions for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) were common place before a ban was enacted by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) and UFC in 2014 according to an ESPN.com Brett Okamoto report titled, “UFC to follow ban on testosterone therapy.”
Until the world of professional combat sports wants to come out of their mass psychosis and face the cold, hard truth that performance enhancing drug use is common even in the amateur ranks we can fully expect the charade to continue. This fantasy notion that most elite professional athletes are clean only serves to fill the pockets of those perpetuating the lie, and until a new paradigm on performance enhancing drug use is adopted to either make the penalties so severe that athletes will think twice about using them or performance enhancing drug use is outright legalized we can expect this ridiculous package of lies to continue.
Big Baby Miller: “I Messed Up”
By: Sean Crose
Although he was scheduled to face Anthony Joshua for numerous heavyweight titles on June 1st at New York’s Madison Square Garden, Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller now stands looking at an uncertain future. The Joshua fight fell apart after it was revealed that Miller essentially failed a March 20th drug test from the Voluntary Anti Doping Agency (VADA) and the New York State Athletic Commission subsequently refused to license the 23-0-1 fighter. The drug found in Miller’s system was a weight loss substance known as GW1516. It was then revealed that Miller again tested positive for GW1516 on March 31st. On that same day Miller also tested positive for a strength building human growth hormone known as EPO. Both GW1516 and EPO are banned substances.
Now that he’s missed out on an almost five million dollar payday to face the 22-0 Joshua, Miller has come clean – a bit of an oddity in this current boxing era – after initially denying any wrongdoing. “I messed up,” the Brooklyn native said in an Instagram post. “I made a bad call.” Miller went on to acknowledge that he’s now paying the price for his indiscretions. “There’s a lot of ways to handle a situation,” said Miller. “I handled it wrongly and I’m paying the price for it. I missed out on a big opportunity.” Miller’s mea culpa went on to bleed into those he claimed he hurt through his actions.
“I hurt my family, my friends, my team, my supporters,” he said. “But I’m going to own up to it. I’m going to deal with it. I’m going to correct it, and I’m going to come back better. I’m humbled by the experience.” At the very least, Miller can take consolation in the fact that the New York State Athletic Commission doesn’t indent to punish him for the positive tests – aside from not granting him a license. When and where Miller will be able to fight again remains to be seen.
For the moment, all of this means that Joshua is left without a dance partner for June 1st. An enormously popular fighter in his home country, the Englishman is apparently still planning to make his US debut at the Garden that evening, even though Miller won’t be his opponent. Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, the two fighters most fans would likely prefer Joshua to face, have their own separate bouts lined up for the spring, virtually making a June 1st fight with either man an impossibility.
Performance Enhancing Drug Use in Boxing
By: Jesse Donathan
News broke late Tuesday evening, April 16, 2019 that heavyweight contender Jarrell Miller has tested positive for the banned substance GW1516, putting his June 1 Madison Square Garden showdown with heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in jeopardy according to a cbssports.com article by Jack Maloney titled “Report: Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller fails VADA test before heavyweight title fight vs. Anthony Joshua.”
According to an ESPN report, “Sources: Miller, set to face Joshua, fails drug test” columnist Dan Rafael writes that, “GW1516, also known as Cardarine and Endurobol, is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list and is classified as a metabolic modulator. An athlete might use it to assist in fat loss or use it as an endurance booster.”
The world of performance enhancing drug use is a familiar one to athletes virtually across the board in sporting competition. Whenever winning counts, there will be competitors looking for any and all advantages over their opponents. It’s an instinct inherent within the human experience, survival of the fittest, where only the strong survive. And as the old adage goes, if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying.
Competition in sport harnesses that primal instinct to win, to survive, and manifests itself in a variety of forms of sport where society rewards the best with a nearly god like status while reserving all others as mere mortals in the presence of said greatness. Whoever that may be in your respective sport of choice, whether its Tiger Woods or the great Michael Jordan.
“In order to try to evade detection, athletes who continue to dope are having to resort to the use of a far more dangerous form of drug – the designer steroid,” writes Ray Kazlauskas in his September 17, 2009 link.springer.com abstract titled, “Designer Steroids.”
According to Kazlauskas, “These steroids are manufactured to closely resemble existing known compounds, but with sufficient chemical diversity to ensure that their detection by the WADA accredited laboratories is more difficult.”
As you may have already surmised, there are known illegal substances and unknown illegal substances. These designer steroids that are of unknown compositions are difficult to detect because the tests administered to athletes are designed to look for specific markers only. The world of anti-doping testing is constantly having to evolve their methodology and understanding of performance enhancing drugs in order to keep up with the evolution of science.
And just as there are illegal performance enhancing drugs, there are legal performance enhancing drugs as well.
Creatine being one of the more popular legal substances on the market today which is regularly used by athletes in order to increase muscle mass and improve athletic performance according to an NIH U.S. National Library of Medicine medlineplus.gov report.
Of course, what constitutes a legal and illegal substance depends very much on what set of rules you’re operating under, though there does seem to be some overlap with a variety of major anti-doping agencies.
“Of eight runners,” Spiegel asks Angel Heredia, former coach to Olympian Marion Jones while hypothetically discussing the 2008 Beijing Olympics, there “will be eight doped,” responds Heredia as Spiegel is obligated to then point out that he cannot actually prove it. “Its undoubtedly like that,” responds Heredia in a November 8, 2008 Spiegel online interview titled, “The Dealer Olympias.” What this should mean to every combat sports fan reading is that many if not all of the elite athletes in sports today are using performance enhancing drugs to one degree or another.
Mexican boxing phenom Canelo Alvarez famously tested positive for clenbuterol in 2018 ahead of his highly anticipated rematch with Gennady Golovkin. “Clenbuterol has shown up in drug tests for many Mexican athletes in recent years because of meat contamination in the country. Alvarez also said meat contamination caused his positive test,” writes ESPN reporter Dan Rafael in his March 6, 2018 ESPN.com article, “Canelo Alvarez’s camp blames suspect meat for positive clenbuterol test.”
Searching for more information, it turns out an August 27, 1995 NCBI U.S. National Library of Medicine abstract titled “Clenbuterol: a substitute for anabolic steroids” states that, “Clenbuterol is a recently popular drug used by athletes in many sports for its purported anabolic effects and reduction of subcutaneous fat. It is a beta-2 (beta 2) agonist prescribed overseas as a bronchodilator, but not approved for use in this country. It is on the banned substance list of the United States Olympic Committee.”
In a March 14, 2019 LA Times article titled “Victor Conte, of BALCO fame, has found a new home in boxing” author Dylan Hernandez writes “Only in what Conte described as the “red-light district of sport” can a convicted steroid distributor be part of a high-profile event and do so in full view of the public.
“I was banned everywhere else,” Conte said with a chuckle. Now a vocal advocate for year-round drug testing, the self-educated former BALCO mastermind helped lightweight champion Mikey Garcia move up to the heavier welterweight division for his showdown with hard-punching Errol Spence.”
According to Hernandez, “Conte, 68, spent four months in prison in 2005 for his role in the BALCO scandal, which tarnished the reputations of high-profile athletes such as Barry Bonds and Marion Jones.” Only a fool would think the Mikey Garcia camp went to Conte for anything but performance enhancing drug use. “We’re clean,” Garcia told the LA Times. The author would go on to state that, “Garcia and his trainer-brother have talked openly about their work with Conte, insisting they have nothing to hide.”
And they may very well not have anything to hide, if you follow the rule book and avoid banned, prohibited substances. However, that does not mean Conte isn’t riding on the cutting edge of science and technology, obviously his milkshakes are still bringing all the boys to yard. So, it is highly doubtful the Garcia camp is going to Conte for fish oil and creatine supplements.
Undoubtably, there are going to be those who decry that science has given us an endless bounty of performance enhancing substances to make athletes bigger, stronger and faster yet we are purposely suppressing this fountain of knowledge and entertainment to our own expense.
The cold, hard reality is that the fairy tale world of fairness, sportsmanship and a level playing field have joined forces with a multi-million-dollar regulation industry to ensure that a cat and mouse like game continues in order to keep the fines and penalties associated with prohibited banned substances rolling in.
Mixed martial arts referee “Big” John McCarthy famously said this is the hurt business. And in the hurt business people get hurt. The amount of damage and sacrifice these athletes make is incalculable, their lives and future very much at stake and on the line as they train to chase a dream that has customarily chewed up and spit out many greats before them.
Modern medicine and science exist to help these athletes perform to the best of their abilities, yet there is an entire industry developed to ensure these athletes do not take advantage of every possible opportunity to protect themselves in the ring, cage or field of play. And its justified under a false pretense that the rest of the field is clean, while it’s a select few bad guys ruining the sport for everyone else. Meanwhile, there is an entire industry profiting from a fairy tale, false belief perpetuated by those raking in the dough as a result of continued, sustained regulation.
Though I am not for or against the use of performance enhancing drugs in combat sports, believing it to be a deeply complicated subject and one without a clear right and wrong answer, I am absolutely in favor of a fair, level playing field. I do not however subscribe to the naïve paradigm espoused by most casual observers that the baseline truth is that the vast majority of elite athletes in professional combat sports today are clean. I simply do not believe that to be case and neither should you.
While there may be some outliers, naturally gifted athletes with the physical attributes and athletic ability to compete at an elite level without the aid of performance enhancing drugs the continued and sustained number of athletes regularly popping for banned, prohibited substances suggests the use of performance enhancing drugs is endemic within combat sports due to the very nature of the sports themselves and a new paradigm of regulation and enforcement is needed in order to adjust to the realities of combat sporting competition.
The naïve, fairy tale ramblings of those who seem to concern themselves with matters in which know very little about need to be recognized for what they are and filtered through the lens of common sense that suggest combat sports are an entirely different animal to non-contact sports. And the realities associated their participation need to be taken into account when dealing with how these athletes treat their bodies and live their lives. Its time for a new paradigm shift in how performance enhancing drugs are regulated in combat sports.
Algorithms, Crocodile Tears and EPO in Mixed Martial Arts
By: Jesse Donathan
Even if you’re a “filthy casual,” as the MMA Twitter community has affectionately dobbed non-hardcore mixed martial arts fans, you’ve probably heard the news that former bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw recently tested positive for the banned substance erythropoietin (EPO). Erythropoietin is Lance Armstrong famous, being one of a handful of drugs centered in the legendary cyclist’s now infamous doping scandal, though according to The Sun columnist Duncan Wright’s June 30, 2017 NY Post article titled, “Lance Armstrong’s doping was all for nothing,” there is some question to the exact extent EPO’s performance enhancing effectiveness.
Wright would go on to explain that, “a groundbreaking new study has found the controversial substance has no effect on sporting performance, meaning Armstrong was wasting his time.”
“The study, published in the medical journal The Lancet, had scientists work with a group of 48 cyclists taking on a series of grueling rides, including the Mont Ventoux ascent, which is part of the Tour de France.” The article would go on to lay out the basic outline of this very interesting study, where half of the participants were doped with EPO and the other half were given a “dummy substance.”
The results of the study may or may not surprise you. According to Wright, “the tests revealed at the end of the grueling rides that the average results of the two groups of riders showed no difference at all. Though the riders injected with EPO showed higher concentrations of hemoglobin, it did nothing to improve heart rate, body efficiency or breathing.”
Dillashaw “voluntarily relinquished” his 135-poound UFC bantamweight title after an adverse finding with the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) and U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) according to a March 20, 2019 ESPN article by Ariel Helwani. Dillashaw is coming off a failed bid to capture the UFC flyweight title from champion and Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo in January, beaten like a red headed stepchild in a one-sided contest that ended in just 32 seconds into round number one.
Not only did EPO fail to improve heart rate, body efficiency or breathing for those cyclists in the study cited above but it also failed to save T.J. Dillashaw from the relentless assault of a former Olympic gold medalist wrestler inside the cage as well.
“Controversy arose over the agency’s handling of Dillashaw’s previous tests after issuing a two-year suspension to the former bantamweight titleholder, when USADA revealed that at least one test conducted on Dec. 28 wasn’t initially screened for EPO,” writes mmajunkie.com’s Steven Marrocco and John Morgan in their April 12, 2019 article titled “Jeff Novitzky says ex-UFC champ T.J. Dillashaw was previously tested for EPO.”
This latest controversy of course coming on the heels of Jon Jones’s now notorious run through the UFC, USADA and numerous athletic commissions anti-doping policies, competing while testing positive for picograms of metabolites associated with the performance enhancing drug Turinabol.
“All the testing … is strategic testing,” Novitzky said. “There’s a reason behind the test that they do,” Novitzky told mmajunkie.com. Confirming my long-held suspicions of how the UFC’s anti-doping policy is administered in a rather candid and frank explanation as to how Dillashaw seemed to have slipped through the cracks for as long as he did.
Interestingly, Novitzky would go on to elaborate on exactly how that might have occurred, “when it comes to EPO analysis, what I believe they’re doing is passport information, so they’re looking at urine and blood markers over time.”
“That data is put into a computer, and there’s an algorithm that would spit out something that would have a red flag or be a bit suspicious, and those fighters are the ones that they want to dedicate extra testing dollars to.” So, part of the anti-doping strategy is apparently to rely on an algorithm to detect potential performance enhancing drug users in an effort to save money instead of blanket, across the board tests for all fighters which would be extraordinarily cost prohibitive for the world’s premiere mixed martial arts organization.
According to mmajunkie, “even UFC President Dana White was taken aback at the idea that Dillashaw might have evaded scrutiny.”
“What shocked me is what I’m paying USADA and that that didn’t get caught earlier,” White told mmajunkie.com in what should surprise absolutely nobody considering an algorithm of all things is used to detect possible red flag samples instead of across the board testing for all fighters or for that matter even common sense itself. White’s reaction amounting to little more than crocodile tears in my opinion as the guy allegedly footing the bill for the tests attempts to obfuscate the fact, he is in fact not paying for the tests at all unless the algorithm red flags an athlete’s samples. Which gives the UFC and everyone else a pretty good excuse, plausible deniability if you will when the tough questions start rolling in.
According to a November 8, 2008 spiegel.de article titled, “The Dealer Olympias” a coach of former Olympian Marion Jones named Angel “Memo” Heredia claimed the winner of the 100-meter finals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics would not be a “clean Olympic champion.” In Heredia’s estimation, there won’t even be a clean participant.
“Of eight runners,” Spiegel asks Heredia, eight will be doped according to Heredia in what is to this day one of the most eye opening and enlightening articles on performance enhancing drug use I have ever read in the arena of sporting competition.
“All countries, all associations, all top athletes are affected, and those responsible include the major shoe companies,” explains Heredia in describing the landscape of performance enhancing drug use as it pertains to the modern era of the sporting industry today.
“I know athletes who have broken records and were injured a year later, and then the call came, ‘We’re going to downgrade you by 50 percent.’ What do you think the athletes do?”
What Heredia is testifying to is the atmosphere of incentivized, performance-based bonuses that naturally create the drive for athletes to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to be successful. Especially when the consequences of not performing well can mean the difference between a livable wage and abject poverty. When was the last time an athlete was ever rewarded with a multimillion-dollar contract or performance-based bonus for being a good sport, playing fair or coming in next to last place?
With this in mind, should anyone really be surprised that athletes at the top of their sport are testing positive for illegal, performance enhancing drugs? So why are we relying on algorithm’s detect potential red flag athletes instead of blanket, across the board testing for all fighters and pretending to be surprised when athlete evades detection for as long as some seem to do? Maybe it’s because, “all the testing … is strategic testing?” And that, “there’s a reason behind the test that they do?” Or conversely, don’t do. The appearance of regulation and integrity far more important than the legitimate implementation of it. Like with EPO, the apparent effectiveness of the regulatory bodies themselves very much open to interpretation.
A Closer Look at Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports
By: Jesse Donathan
“He tested positive again!” Those were the words I was greeted with upon logging on to twitter Sunday, December 23 and seeing the first message of the day from UFC two division champion Daniel Cormier. Unfortunately, Cormier didn’t even need to elaborate any further. Those four short words said it all. Subconsciously, we all knew who Daniel was talking about without needing any further explanation. He of course was talking about Jon “Bones” Jones. Widely considered the best fighter in the sport, according to a December 23, 2018 Jack Crosby article from cbssports.com titled, “UFC 232 moved to Los Angeles after Jon Jones drug test includes miniscule amount of banned substance” Jones has tested positive for performance enhancing drugs once again though he has not been suspended and his title fight against Alexander Gustafsson remains as previously scheduled.
An abnormality in a pre-fight drug test taken by former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has forced UFC to move Saturday’s UFC 232 pay-per-view from Las Vegas to just outside of Los Angeles. Jones’s drug test showed a trace amount of Turinabol, the banned substance that saw him suspended 15 months by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, remained in his system. The USADA referred to it as “an extremely low level,” concluding that it is a residual amount “from his prior exposure for which he was previously sanctioned.
In an espn.com article from Brett Okamato, “Jon Jones subject to drug testing from USADA, VADA” published on December 24, 2018 Okamato reports that as a result of the “atypical” anti-doping test results Jones will be enrolling into VADA testing, testing Jones had initially elected not to participate in, drawing widespread criticism before this latest flagged test result. Okamato would go on to write:
Jon Jones, as of Monday afternoon, is subject to drug testing from both the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA).
According to California State Athletic Commission executive director Andy Foster, Jones, 31, enrolled in the VADA program on Monday. As a UFC athlete, he is still enrolled in the promotion’s mandatory USADA program as well, making him the first MMA fighter to be enrolled to both programs at the same time.
Jones is no stranger to banned substances, as described above this latest positive test for miniscule amounts of Turinabol are alleged to be trace deposits from the last positive test which Jones failed over a year ago. According to a September 13, 2017 article, “Jon Jones’ B sample confirms failed drug test from UFC 214” written by the BBC, “USADA confirmed that Jones had tested positive for an anabolic steroid called Turinabol, just one day before he defeated Daniel Cormier in Anaheim to reclaim the UFC’s light-heavyweight title.
Jones has denied knowingly taking the banned substance, and requested the test of his B sample, but this has now confirmed presence of Turinabol.” This latest December 2018 “atypical” result is alleged to be from this previous 2017 offense. Mixed martial arts journalist Dave Meltzer of The Wresting Observer isn’t so sure, stating via twitter social media on December 24, 2018 that, “when the same expert says a substance can only be detected for 6 weeks in 2017 and then tells you it was detected 17 months later in 2018, that tells me the “expert” may be smart, but also may be a con.”
Originally reported by Aaron Bronsteter, UFC content editor for The Sports News (TSN) via twitter, Jones tested at 60 picograms per milliliter on December 9, 2018. Interestingly enough, according to Bronsteter Jones originally tested positive back in 2017 for the same banned substance of between 20-80 picograms per milliliter. In other words, Jones’s most recent “atypical” flagged test is within the same range of his 2017 failed urinalysis for which he was originally sanctioned. Yet, Jones’s fight with Gustaffson remains as previously scheduled despite the NSAC’s refusal to license Jones. Rather questionably, the California State Athletic Commission is signing off on this fight when the Nevada State Athletic Commission would not, as the UFC bends over backwards to make sure the fight continues as scheduled.
According to a NCBI.gov article titled, “The pharmacokinetics of Oral-Turinabol in humans” originally published in September of 1991 by Schumann, W. oral-Turinabol has a terminal half-life of 16 hours. For those who may not be familiar with the term half-life, it is defined by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary as, “the time required for half the amount of a substance (such as a drug, radioactive tracer, or pesticide) in or introduced into a living system or ecosystem to be eliminated or disintegrated by natural processes.” Note, it’s been over a year since Jones’s original positive test.
In a July 7, 2016 Associated Press report at the nydailynews titled, “Tearful Jon Jones denies taking PEDs after positive test blows up UFC 200’s main event” Jones was reportedly adamant that, “he (had) no idea why his June 16 test would yield a violation after he passed seven other doping tests this year.” It was later revealed that Jones had tested positive for the anti-estrogen blocker clomiphene and the aromatase inhibitor Letrozole according to Marc Raimondi of mmafighting.com in his July 23, 2016 article titled, “Brock Lesnar tested positive for anti-estrogen; Lesnar, Jon Jones won’t face UFC fine.”
In a January 8, 2015 Ariel Helwani article for mmafighting.com, “Nevada Athletic Commission head: Jon Jones’ testosterone clean prior to UFC 182; carbon isotope ratio test conducted” we find some invaluable information in understanding the parallel world of doping in combat sports. In explaining testosterone to the reader, Helwani heads to WebMD to define testosterone as “the “male” hormone accounting for strength and endurance.” The WebMD definition goes on to state “for every molecule of testosterone produced by the body, another molecule of a substance called epitestosterone, which does not enhance performance, is made.” In examining some of the criteria set forth by regulatory bodies in mixed martial arts, the Helwani article would go on to explain that:
In a normal male body, the ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone, the T/E ratio, is about 1:1. But variation can occur in individuals, and the World Anti-Doping Code has deemed 4:1 as the threshold for a positive test.”
Note: Nevada’s threshold is 6:1.
This is some information worth sitting on and examining closer, because these ratios are incredible in comparison to the data we previously broke down barney style. Though I admittedly only had a C average when I graduated with a Bro-Science degree in English, the fact “the World Anti-Doping Code has deemed 4:1 as the threshold for a positive test,” seems to me to be a piece of information too incredible to skip over. There is nothing to see here people… move along!
If 1:1 is our baseline for normal, athletes could potentially have a 3:1 ratio of testosterone molecules made to every molecule of epitestosterone and still be well within the acceptable range of the World Anti-Doping Code and therefor passing the test with flying colors. That is literally three times what is considered normal and the scary part is that only a 4:1 ratio is considered a positive test. Understanding this information alone puts the performance enhancing drug question in combat sports in an entirely different light. If you are normal male athlete with a 1:1 T/E ratio you may think twice about stepping in there with another normal athlete who has a T/E ratio of 3:1 or even greater. Suddenly, the question of performance enhancing drugs in sports moves from the lens and perspective of cheating to an entirely new premise of leveling out the playing field.
According to Dr. Johnny Benjamin of mmajunkie.com, a noted medical combat-sports specialist, in his April 5, 2012 article titled, “Medical Beat: What are T:E ratios? And why do cut off limits vary?” ethnicity and other variables can play a role in T:E ratios.
Most men have a ratio of T to E of 1:1, which means normal men have equal amounts of T and E in their blood. There is some normal ethnic and time of day variation in the normal T/E ratio (as low as 0.7:1 and as high as 1.3:1).
Statistics reveal that a ratio of up to 3.7:1 will capture 95 percent of all normal men, and a ratio of up to 5:1 will capture greater than 99 percent of all men. That’s why the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) allows up to 4:1 (so its test is at least 95 percent accurate) and the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the NCAA and some others allow up to 6:1 (for 99 percent accuracy).
Flashing back to Helwani’s January 2015 article, he would go on write about Jon Jones’s flagged urinalysis sample:
So on Dec. 4, Jones’ T/E ratios came up as .29 and .35. Jones actually took two drug tests that day because, according to Nevada Athletic Commission executive director Bob Bennett, his first urine sample was “watery.” On Dec. 18, his T/E ratio came up as .19. Clearly, all three ratios were below that of the average male.
When our baseline is a 1:1 ratio, punching that information into the calculator still returns a result of one when you attempt to divide 1 by itself. Notice where Jon Jones’s decimal point is, we aren’t talking about 2.9 here. We are talking about 0.29, followed by 0.35 and incredibly on December 18 he tested out at 0.19. Jones was on his way to ruling the women’s UFC light heavyweight division until his dying day with those kinds of results. Helwani later writes, “by contrast, Daniel Cormier, Jones’ opponent at UFC 182, had a T/E ratio of .4 on Dec. 2 and .48 on Dec. 17. Cormier passed both those tests.” Even Daniel Cormier’s numbers are well below the 1:1 ratio considered as the baseline for normal testosterone to epitestosterone molecule production according to the WebMD synopsis originally provided by Helwani. While Jones’s test was the more suspicious between the two, there is no question Cormier is testing well below the normal threshold by regulatory body standards.
The World Anti-Doping code provides leeway up to a 4:1 ratio, the Nevada State Athletic Commission 6:1 according to Helwani and both Jones and Cormier are testing out with their decimal points on the wrong side of the calculations. Instead of testing for a high testosterone to low ratio epitestosterone, their decimal points are on the wrong side of the dotted line. In my opinion, both athletes have curiously low T/E ratios, however with Jones being the more questionable between the two he seemed to get the vast majority of negative publicity surrounding the testing results. In a seemingly real-life Jedi Mind trick, Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Bob Bennet was quoted by Helwani as stating that, “there’s no problem with Daniel, trust me.”
Putting things into perspective here, according to an April 5, 2012 article by Jesse Holland of mmamania.com titled, “Report: Alistair Overeem T/E ratio comes back a whopping 14:1 following failed drug test” manipulating an athlete’s testosterone to epitestosterone ratio is a known performance enhancement technique in competitive sports and one which is exploited by athletes in combat sports.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight number one contender Alistair Overeem, who flunked a surprise drug test in advance of his UFC 146 title fight opposite Junior dos Santos on May 26 in Las Vegas, has returned a staggering testosterone-to-epitestosterone (T/E) ratio of 14:1 in his failed urine test, according to Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) Executive Director Keith Kizer.
Holland would go to write, “by comparison, Chael Sonnen’s T/E ratio following his failed urine test in the wake of his middleweight title fight in the UFC 117 main event back in October 2010, was 16.9:1.” Let that sink in for a second, 16.9 molecules of testosterone per one molecule of epitestosterone. In a universe where 1:1 is considered the baseline normal ratio, that’s simply unfathomable. Those are the kinds of numbers that would make Lance Armstrong blush. And according to Nevada State Athletic Director Bob Bennett Daniel Cormier competing at .40:1 and .48:1 isn’t a problem? “These are not the droids you’re looking for,” echo’s Obi Wan Kenobi in a galaxy, far, far away.
Yet, Jon Jones’s .29:1 and .35:1 ratio is a problem? With a third test ordered for Jon Jones and Jones only on December 18th with an astonishingly low .19:1 T/E ratio result obviously raising red flags on top of red flags. These are the T/E ratios I would expect from an adolescent child, yet they are the results of performance enhancing drug tests for two of the world’s leading mixed martial arts champions?
Astonishingly, in a July 1997 report by Werner W. Franke and Brigette Berondonk, “Hormonal doping and androgenization of athletes: a secret program of the German Democratic Republic government” published at Clinical Chemistry we find a wonderfully insightful and behind the scenes look at the world of pharmaceutical based athletic performance enhancing drug use. Describing the East German Democratic Republics (GDR) state sponsored doping program, Franke and Berondonk wrote of one of the GDR symposium’s goals to evade increased scrutiny by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by administering, “testosterone as well as dihydrotestosterone by nasal spray, especially in those events in which the psychotropic effects of testosterone, such as increased aggressiveness, are considered important, as well as to evade the doping tests.”
In a fascinating and insightful look at the corruption within the regulatory bodies, Werner and Berondonk describe how situations deemed embarrassing or too damaging for some nations, regulatory bodies, promotions or athletes were simply covered up.
Finally, however, even when an athlete of the GDR, or another socialist country, was tested at a risky moment, i.e., when her or his urine was expected to still contain metabolites of synthetic steroids or an above-normal T:E ratio, there was no reason to panic. From the written records, it appears that, usually, one of the members of the international doping control committee was able to clear away the sample. For example, the Stasi reports from Höppner, who served many years on control committees, describe when and how he covered up certain drug-positive cases and arranged falsely negative findings, often after consultation with a ZK member; if worst came to worst, he acted directly by carrying out a urine exchange.
It’s unreal that Jon Jones has tested positive, again, yet reportedly for residual amounts from a previously failed test which he has already been sanctioned for. Contributing to the madness is the fact Jones is reportedly unable to be sanctioned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, so the UFC has moved the entire show to just outside Los Angeles, California where Jones can be sanctioned by the California State Athletic Commission. The logistics involved for this kind of move, the money lost, and tremendous burden put on nearly everyone who had planned on attending the event in Las Vegas, with flights and hotels booked etc. is simply mind blowing.
There is plenty of blame to go around here. While Jones is the obvious target, how is it just days before the fight with Gustafsson this trace amount of Turinabol was only now discovered? If anything, this latest embarrassment for Jones only shines the light on the ineptitude of regulatory bodies and their administrative policies which ultimately lead to public relations nightmares just like this latest positive test by Jones for a performance enhancing drug he had been previously sanctioned on over a year ago now. Its time for additional oversight and reform in the combat sports entertainment industry.
Saunders-Andrade: Walter Kautondokwa On Standby Ahead of Massachusetts Commission Hearing
By Jake Donovan
The majority of boxing fans may not be familiar with Walter Kautondokwa, but the outcome of a key item in the Massachusetts Boxing Commission (MBC) on Tuesday could change that in a hurry.
Kautondokwa—an unbeaten middleweight knockout artist from Namibia—will be among the interested observers as Billy Joe Saunders will learn the fate of his license status ahead of a planned October 20 title defense versus Demetrius Andrade. The bout is due to headline at
TD Garden in Boston, but that status is very much up in the air due to the unbeaten Brit showing trace amounts of the banned substance Olixofrine during an August 31 drug test administered by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA).
Photo Credit: Billy Joe Saunders Twitter Account
In the event he is denied a license, Saunders will also be stripped of his World Boxing Organization (WBO) middleweight title. Andrade, Saunders’ unbeaten mandatory challenger will vie for the vacant title versus the next highest-rated contender, which is where Kautondokwa enters the picture.
Test results were first revealed to the public on September 27, via a breaking news entry from ESPN.com senior writer Dan Rafael. The subject has now made its way to the MBC agenda for its next monthly meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at its headquarters in Boston.
It was also cause enough for event promoter Eddie Hearn—whose Matchroom USA outlet promotes Andrade and will present the show on the subscription-based DAZN USA app—to immediately secure a back-up plan to ensure the October 20 card goes uninterrupted.
“We signed an agreement with Matchroom on September 28 to step in and take the fight in the event Saunders is not (licensed),” Nestor Tobias, Kautondokwa’s manager and a former boxer informed BoxingInsider.com. “(Such short notice) is of course never enough to prepare for such a big fight…but we were already in the gym training.”
Kautondokwa (17-0, 16KOs) has not fought since registering a 5th round knockout of Argentina’s Billi Godoy in his hometown of Windhoek, Namibia, where the bulk of his five-year career has taken place. As far back as his knockout win over Obodai Sai last June in Ghana–his one career bout outside of Namibia—he has lobbied for a shot at Saunders.
Now he could wind up taking his place.
For the moment, Saunders (26-0, 12KOs) is sticking to the story that the substance ended up in his system due to his taking an over-the-counter nasal decongestant to clear his sinuses. Whether or not it’s true is less significant than the fact that athletes are held fully accountable—especially in this day and age—for anything they put in their body.
It is why all VADA forms include a section requiring athletes to disclose any medications they are currently taking, or have taken close enough to where a test soon thereafter would return such results. Even if the decongestant was inhaled after such forms were submitted, Saunders and his team are still obligated to inform testing officials of such a development.
No greater lesson was learned than with the postponement of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’ planned May 5 rematch with Gennady Golovkin. The bout was pushed back by more than four months after Alvarez was handed a modest six-month suspension for trace amounts of Clenbuterol found in his system during two separate tests in February.
Alvarez’ handlers presented all of the necessary documents and receipts to validate the theory that he consumed the banned substance through contaminated meat, a years-long epidemic in his native Mexico. The Nevada State Athletic Commission seemed sympathetic to his plight, but in the end still held the wildly popular boxer accountable and thus denied him the right to fight for six months dating back to the date of the failed test.
Alvarez, of course, returned in September in claiming a narrow decision to end Golovkin’s eight-year run of holding at least one middleweight title. Still, the preceding suspension sent a message that nobody in the sport is above the rules—a lesson that Saunders could very well learn on Tuesday.
Kautondokwa and his team aren’t necessarily rooting for such an outcome, nor are they accusing Saunders of cheating, intentionally or otherwise. At the same time, they remain very curious to see how the Massachusetts board handles the situation.
“It is never good to hear that a boxer has tested positive for drugs, it is not good for the sports of boxing but these things do happen,” Tobias notes. “We are happy that doping agencies are making a concerted effort to curb down such boxers and athletes around the world because it is not fair on their fellow sportsman and women with who they are to compete against.
“Saunders has been a great champion, whether or not he really used a banned drug will be up to the Commission to decide. All we are saying is that there should be zero tolerance to any athlete found guilty or failing drug test irrespective of how big they are. If the results prove that he is, than it would only be fair to strip him of the title like it would have been with any other (champion).”
Such a scenario is precisely what the World Boxing Organization (WBO)—whose title Saunders has held since a Dec. ’15 points win over Andy Lee—has insisted would be the case should the MBC deny the Brit a boxing license. WBO President Francisco ‘Paco’ Valcárcel has made it abundantly clear that the title would become vacant under such circumstances, leaving Andrade and Kautondokwa to compete for the vacant strap.
Andrade (25-0, 16KOs) would have the advantage of a full training camp in addition to being the far more established pro. The unbeaten 30-year old from Providence, Rhode Island—less than an hour from Boston—was a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Boxing team and is a former 154-pound titlist in the pro ranks.
However, he has also been grossly inactive for the lion’s share of his optimal prime. In fact, the 6’1” southpaw will have been out of the ring for exactly 52 weeks come fight night, having been out of the ring since a 12-round points win over Alantez Fox last October.
Still, he’d remain a heavy betting favorite and for good reason. This much isn’t at all lost on Kautondokwa, who would be making his U.S. debut in addition to the massive step up in competition just ahead of his 34th birthday.
“Andrade is slick, very experienced and unbeaten. He will be fighting at home, had enough time to prepare for the fight, and is clearly the better known name, so everything will be in his favor going into a fight with Kautondokwa,” conceds Tobias. “But that is exactly the position we want to be in.
The pressure will be on Andrade and not on Kautondokwa. We will take full advantage of our underdog status.”
Of course, none of that matters until a final decision is handed down Tuesday afternoon in Boston. But just incase, boxing fans can at least rest assured that Plan B is not only already in place, but game for the cause.
Billy Joe Saunders Reportedly Fails VADA Test
By: Michael Kane
It’s not been a great few days if you are Billy Joe Saunders.
First he was fined £100000 by the British Boxing Board of Control for a video he posted in which he appeared to offer a woman money for a sex act then told her to punch a man walking along the road, which she did, Saunders then drove away laughing.
Photo Credit: Billy Joe Saunders Twitter Account
Now there are reports he has failed a Voluntary Anti-Doping Association drug test.
The reports suggest he tested for the banned substance oxilofrine, which is a stimulant. ESPN’s Dan Rafael was the first to break the news.
Saunders, the current WBO middleweight champion, is due to defend his belt against Demetrious Andrade om October 20th. However this news will put that bout seriously in doubt. Saunders could also face being stripped of his title.
Oxilofrine is a stimulant that can increase performance as it helps to burn fat, it could increase adrenaline production, endurance and help with the oxygenation of the blood.
Several athletes have tested positive for the drug in the past.
It seems Saunders has taken to Twitter to laugh the claims off,
😂 some shit 😂
— billyjoesaunders (@bjsaunders_) September 27, 2018
Canelo Defends Reputation at Presser
By: Jeandra Lebeauf
After weeks of speculation, the anticipated rematch between Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez and middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin is off as a result of Alvarez testing positive for the banned substance Clenbuterol.
Photo Credit: Canelo Alvarez Twitter Account
Golden Boy Promotions President Eric Gomez made the official announcement on Tuesday.
“Let me begin by informing all of you that at this point unfortunately we are going to have to cancel the May 5th rematch. As you all know there is a hearing date of April 18 and it’s extremely unlikely that this matter can be resolved by then properly. And obviously we need enough time to promote a fight of this magnitude.”
With Oscar De La Hoya at his side, Alvarez defended himself through a translator by reiterating that he is a clean fighter, having been tested over 90 times over a 12-year span, and that the positive test was the result of eating contaminated meat in his home country of Mexico.
“I am truly shocked about what has happened and for those who have doubts and suspicion about my integrity, I have always been and always be a clean fighter.
I want to apologize to HBO, Tecate and Hennessy and all my other sponsors, the media and to everyone who is involved in the promotion of this event, and especially to the fans. I respect this sport. I will always be a clean fighter.”
Despite pledging complete transparency during the course of the investigation, his attorney Ricardo Cestero limited the number of responses to media inquiries due to the pending investigation. Joining the panel was Dr. Miguel Angel Nazul of the Mexican Federation of Sports Medicine who says contaminated meat is a widespread problem throughout Jalisco, Mexico City and other areas.
Alvarez concluded the press meeting by describing the day he found out about the positive test and what he will do going forward to prevent positive testing.
“I got a call from Eric Gomez and he called me and I answered and he said I tested positive in some test and my first reaction was no, there has to be a mistake, something is wrong.”
“It saddens me people are accusing me of doing something improper. I am proud of the career I’ve had. From here on out, I will take precautions before future fights and make sure this never happens again.”
Breaking: May 5th Canelo-GGG Fight Is Officially Off
By: Sean Crose
“I am sad and feel powerless,” Canelo Alvarez told the media on Tuesday, “that this fight cannot happen now.” And with that, all remaining hope for the superfight between Canelo (49-1-2) and middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin (37-0-1) going down this spring vanished. Canelo tested positive on two occasions this past February for having the banned substance Clenbuterol in his system. He was subsequently suspended (albeit temporarily) by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, leaving the Las Vegas based Golovin rematch (the two men first fought to a controversial draw last autumn), which was scheduled to occur on May 5th, in serious doubt.
Canelo took the opportunity Tuesday to argue that he never took a banned substance intentionally. “I have always operated as a clean fighter,” he said. “I have always taken clean substances.” He’ll have a chance to argue his case before the Commission on an April 18th hearing. If the Commission decides to be firm, the Mexican star can be suspended for six months or more. Other states are apt to follow the Nevada ruling, whatever it should be, meaning that a suspension would likely carry over throughout the United States, where Canelo has proven to be most successful as a prize fighter.
“I will do whatever I need to do,” he said, “to demonstrate I have never taken this substance (intentionally).” Seeing his reputation as an honest player in a dirty game take a serious hint, Canelo took time to lament his situation. “It saddens me that people are accusing me of doing something improper,” he claimed. Canelo also said that he was going to henceforth be more mindful about what goes in his body. “From here on out, I will take increased precautions to ensure this will never happen again,” he said.
Team Canelo made it clear during the conference that they still wish for a Canelo-GGG rematch to go down, perhaps in August or September. As for Golovkin, it looks as if he’s preparing to face another opponent on May 5th. Names such as Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (27-2), Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade (25-0) and WBO super middleweight champ Gilberto Ramirez (37-0) have all popped up. Golovkin’s promotional company has also requested a permit for May 5th at the MGM Grand in Vegas (the Canelo rematch was supposed to take place at the T-Mobile Arena). As of press time, no opponent for Golovkin had been announced.
Golovkin has unleashed on Canelo through the media since news of the drug tests broke. He’s accused his opponent as having cheated before and has also stated that Canelo has been unfairly supported by the powers that be. On Tuesday, Canelo’s response was restrained. “What Golovkin or his team say does not bother me at all,” he said. ”They’re not experts, doctors.” Canlo had a doctor on hand who stated the levels of Clenbuteral that Canelo tested for were in line for levels of those who have consumed contaminated meat. Intent, however, did not come into play in regards to the Commission’s handing down of a suspension.
Breaking: Canelo Temporarily Suspended
The Nevada State Athletic Commission temporarily suspended Saul Canelo Alvarez on Friday for failing two drug tests in February. Both tests showed traces of the banned substance Clenbuterol. Canelo’s team had argued that the fighter had ingested the drug by eating tainted meat. At the moment, at least, the excuse isn’t flying in Nevada. The news does not mean Canelo’s much hyped rematch with Gennady Golovkin for middleweight supremacy on May 5th has fallen through…at least not yet. The Commission will address the matter again at an April 10th hearing.
“Mr. Alvarez is temporarily suspended for his adverse analytical finding, and an April 10 meeting with the Nevada Athletic Commission will fully address this adverse analytical finding,” the Los Angeles Times quotes NSAC Executive Director Bob Bennett as saying.
If the Commission does decide to lengthen Canelo’s suspension, the Golovkin rematch, scheduled to go down at the T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, might well be canceled – or at the very least postponed. Both Canelo and Golovkin agreed to testing via the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) before their rematch. The tests Canelo submitted to on February 17th and 20th showed signs of Clenbuterol. The results were made public earlier this month, rocking the fight world.
“I am an athlete who respects the sport and this surprises me and bothers me because it had never happened to me. I will submit to all the tests that require me to clarify this embarrassing situation and I trust that at the end the truth will prevail,” the fighter was quoted as saying. Canelo’s argument that tainted meat was the cause of his failed tests has raised eyebrows, though Clenbuterol is known to be found in Mexican livestock and can be ingested unwittingly.
One person who clearly doesn’t believe Canelo’s tainted meat excuse is his scheduled opponent. Golovkin has gone so far as to claim Canelo cheated for their first match, a controversial 2017 draw. He’s also stated that Canelo’s promoter, Golden Boy honcho Oscar De La Hoya, is guilty of having cheated, as well. What’s more, Golovkin accused the NSAC of essentially engaging in a form of terrorism via it’s favoritism of fighters like Canelo, herefore destroying the sport. Fairly or not, the NSAC has a reputation for bias behavior when it comes to prize fighting and Canelo is said to be a favorite of the organization.
Canelo is still allowed to train for the May 5th bout and Golden Boy has declared it will be respectful of the Commission’s decision while taking up Canelo’s cause. Golovkin promoter, Tom Loeffler, shed some light on the scenario to the LA Times. “They told us Canelo has complied with follow-up testing and everything they’ve asked of him,” he said, “but under their rules, they had to issue a suspension.”
Canelo vs. GGG 2 Has “Big Drama” Heading Into Their Rematch
By: Bryant Romero
Prior to Canelo’s positive drug test for Clenbuterol being made public two weeks ago, there were many in the boxing media wondering just how dull and uninteresting the buildup would be heading into their May 5 rematch. Canelo and Golovkin are no doubt exciting fighters to watch inside the ring, but they’re not the most polarizing personalities outside the ring. This is the spark and controversy the rematch needed and this writer doesn’t see it as a bad thing. Not to say that the handlers of this event purposely released this information in order to build up hype. But no one can argue that the rivalry between Canelo/GGG and the lead up to their May 5 rematch has gotten a lot more interesting.
Golovkin erupted and made some very strong allegations at Canelo and his promoter Oscar De La Hoya during his meet with media members this past Tuesday.
“I told you, it’s not Mexican meat. This is Canelo. This is his team. This is his promotion, Canelo is cheating. They’re using drugs, and everybody is just trying to pretend it’s not happening.
“It’s pretty obvious when (Canelo’s) muscles were enlarged and with traces of injections, which were visible, “ Golovkin said. “ I can talk about Oscar De La Hoya too. He is also not clean, he’s dirty.”
Obviously, Golovkin is not buying the excuse Canelo and his handlers have put forth in saying the reasoning for the two positive drug tests last month was due to consumption of contaminated meat. Golovkin also feels Canelo was dirty in the first fight and believes that he is being protected and coddled by the Nevada state athletic commission.
Golovkin and his team have shown great concern heading into this rematch and that perhaps they’re heading into this fight on an uneven playing field. While GGG can certainly have his suspicions about the reasoning for Canelo testing positive for Clenbuterol and question the investigation that is being put forth by the Nevada commission, the comments he made could have very well earned him a lawsuit in the near future.
Golden Boy Promotions President Eric Gomez told boxingscene “it’s defamation and we’re going to take appropriate action.”
Gomez sees Golovkin statements as a sign of fear, a lack of confidence, and is simply looking for a way out.
“It sounds like he wants out of the fight, he doesn’t sound confident.” Gomez told Boxingscene. “If he wants out of the fight, he should say so.”
Gomez is 100 percent confident that the fight will go ahead on May 5. Canelo has since passed subsequent tests while the Nevada commission is currently investigating and has yet to give a ruling on the matter. All signs point to the fight going ahead on May 5.
Canelo vs GGG 2 has “big drama” heading into their rematch and there is certainly a lot more bad blood between the camps. Expect a more explosive fight on May 5 and the controversy surrounding the rematch is not necessarily a bad thing. Because if it wasn’t for these turn of events, what exactly would anybody in the media be talking about when it comes to this rematch had the positive tests not been made public?
Give Canelo a Break
By: Ben Sutherland
Earlier this week the news broke that whilst in training camp, Canelo Alvarez had failed a drugs test. As part of his preparation for his much anticipated rematch with Golovkin, Canelo had submitted himself to testing by anti-doping agency, VADA. It was one of these VADA tests that came back positive. The drug in question is Clenbuterol, a thermogenic stimulant that boosts aerobic capacity, central nervous system stimulation, blood pressure and the body’s ability to transport oxygen. In normal medical practice it is given as a treatment to people who suffer with asthma and other breathing related ailments. It quickens the metabolism which allows athletes to simultaneously lean down and gain muscle mass which is particularly useful for someone like Canelo, who frequently hops between weight classes. Boxers across the world have been quick to brand Canelo a drugs cheat, with the likes of WBO middleweight champion, Billy Joe Saunders, speaking out particularly strongly on the subject.
The word out of the Canelo camp is that this failed test was caused by eating contaminated meat and quite frankly, I believe him. Clenbuterol is often used illegally by farmers to add bulk and muscle to their animals to increase profit margins. This practice is particularly widespread in less economically developed countries such as Mexico. Animals who have been supplemented with clenbuterol produce contaminated meat, which if eaten can produce a positive test.
The first important thing to note about clenbuterol is that it is classified by the World Anti-Doping code as a non-threshold, non-specified substance. This means that even the smallest amount of clenbuterol can trigger a positive test. Therefore, the level of clenbuterol can be below the threshold of a performance enhancing level but still set off a positive test. Canelo’s promotional team have stated that the amount of clenbuterol found is consistent with levels found as a result of eating contaminated meat. This has subsequently been confirmed by Daniel Eichner, the director of the WADA accredited laboratory that conducted the failed test.
It should also be noted that this is the first test that Canelo has ever failed. He has been regularly tested in and out of camp for years. During each camp Canelo is tested over 10 times and until now has never returned a positive test. Additionally, tests conducted on Canelo since the failed test have also all come back clean. It should be noted that drugs like clenbuterol are effective when taken cumulatively over a longer period of time, and based off these test results, this is not the case.
Furthermore, this type of positive test occurs frequently across a wide range of sports. Tyson Fury was recently acquitted for a positive test which was triggered when he and his cousin, Hughie, ate a wild boar. Track and field athletes have also regularly failed tests and then have subsequently shown to be clean in countries like South Africa where clenbuterol usage is far more common.
Does this information completely exonerate Canelo? Not fully. However, the legal system is such that it is a case of innocent till proven guilty and there is as of yet, very little indication that Canelo has knowingly cheated. Don’t get me wrong, deliberately using drugs in boxing should be a criminal offence. In combat sports, drugs can give power advantages that can be lethal and should be punished accordingly. However, this test has all the markers of an embarrassing blunder rather than a malicious and nefarious attempt to cheat.
Ultimately, Canelo is responsible for the substances that he puts in his body and he has nobody to blame but himself. However, I highly doubt he has gained any performance benefits from this incident and whilst it probably warrants a slap on the wrist, the fight should go on.
Until additional evidence is produced, indicating Canelo’s guilt, give the man a break, the damage to his reputation has already been more than sufficient punishment.
Keep up with Ben Sutherland’s latest content on Instagram: @promotionsmd
Breaking News: Canelo Tests Positive for Clenbuterol
In the lead up to his massive rematch against Gennady Golovkin for middleweight supremacy in May, Canelo Alvarez has tested positive for the banned substance, Clenbuterol. Golden Boy Promotions, Canelo’s promoter, was quick to release a statement.
“As part of the voluntary testing program that Canelo Alvarez insisted on ahead of his May 5 fight, one of his results came back positive for trace levels of Clenbuterol, consistent with meat contamination that has impacted dozens of athletes in Mexico,” the powerhouse promotion claimed.
Golden Boy noted that:
“Daniel Eichner, Director of SMRTL, the WADA-accredited lab that conducted the tests stated in his letter today, ‘These values are all within the range of what is expected from meat contamination.’”
Needless to say, Golden Boy made it clear that it has reached out to the Nevada State Athletic Commission (the Golovkin rematch is to be held in Vegas), as well as to team Golovkin. What’s more, Golden Boy declared that it was moving Canelo’s camp to the United States.
“As has been planned, Canelo will immediately move his training camp from Mexico to the United States and will submit to any number and variety of additional tests that VADA deems necessary ahead of and after May 5.”
Boxing Insider will keep readers updated on this story as it professes.