Really nobody wants to go there, and ponder the route to take should the unthinkable happen, and one of the fighters involved in the May 2 super fight, boxing’s Super Bowl, the Clash for all the Cash, test positive for a banned substance, a PED.
But anyone involved in the sport at any high level, with any length of time in the game, knows that it is wise to consider all possible variables, and even some imponderables.
The Twittersphere churned on Thursday night, when the LA Times reporter Lance Pugmire broke a story that touched on what might happen if, say, Floyd Mayweather tested positive in the lead-up to May 2. Team Pacquiao wanted to insert a clause in the contract for the bout which would penalize Floyd $5 million for the infraction, reported Pugmire, and Team Mayweather balked. The Twittersphere barked, with Mannyiacs bellowing that Floyd’s stance indicated a guilty conscience. The Floyd rooters pointed out that just maybe the “Money” man realized that a mere $5 million penalty, aimed at either fighter should their sample come up dirty, would be a mere pittance in the grand scheme of things, and posited the theory that maybe any penalty would be a much grander sum.
The whole kerfuffle led me to ponder what might happen if one or in a beyond ludicrous scenario, both men tested positive. I think the chances of that are slim, and near none, myself, as I am of the mindset that I will assume guys are fighting clean unless incontrovertible evidence is presented to me. Regardless, I reached out to Bob Bennett, a man who served in the Marines and then the FBI for 24 1/2 years, and currently serves as the executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. I wanted to get a sense of what the NSAC would do if Floyd or Manny tested positive prior to their May 2 tangle.
Bennett, who lived in Queens, and Long Island, has been a Vegas guy for the last 30 years. He sound reverently pumped up for the “megafight of the century” and noted that he’d been present, at Madison Square Garden, for the last such mega-fight, when Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali acquainted themselves with such violent intimacy. It was clear to me that Bennett had a law enforcement man’s POV toward the possibility of either man testing positive, and to that end, would be ready to deal fully with the case should circumstances warrant, but found elongated trafficking in a hypothetical to be a not fully fruitful intellectual exercise. “Both these fighters have been so successful fighting in Las Vegas, and I believe it is highly unlikely for either to test positive for a PED,” he told me.
Bennett noted that USADA is the testing body tasked with doing the testing of the athletes. Should a positive pop up, his body would do an investigation. They would seek to confirm the result with USDADA, and consider testing the ‘B’ sample, a second sample, though that would not be a given, he told me. Chain of custody of the sample, be it blood and/or urine, would be established, Bennett continued, to make sure nothing was compromised. If a positive sample proved to be just that, then USADA protocol would be followed, he said. “Immediately, the matter would be brought to the attention of the chairman of the commission (Francisco Aguilar). He’d call for a commission meeting. A deputy attorney general would draft a “disciplinary complaint,” Bennett said. A hearing, featuring the athlete who’d tested positive, would be scheduled before the commission. “Determination of consequences to the fighter who tested positive” would be decided, he said. The chairman and the commission would mull a proper response, and might receive and incorporate information from pertinent witnesses, Bennett said. The fighter would be under oath at the hearing, for the record. “If the fight would continue or not would depend on the decision of the chairman and the commission,” he said. So there you go…the fight could conceivably be cancelled, even at the 11th hour. No, Bennett told me, the magnitude of this event would not affect the decision of the judging parties. “Of course it’s a mega-fight,” the ex FBI man stated. “But the facts are the facts. Listen, I wouldn’t expect either man to test positive for performance enhancing drugs.”
Bennett said of course the contractual elements the two athletes agreed to would factor in to such a matter, in theory, and in fact, if they agree to some sort of monetary penalty, that wouldn’t affect in any way, shape or form on the manner of investigation by the regulatory body.
One question bopping around the Twittersphere involved the ability of USDADA to level a sanction or ban on a fighter testing positive. Again, Bennett said, the contractual terms between the fighters would have to be respected, but he made clear the fighters are licensed by the state, and his organization would be adhering to their rules and regulations.
Bennett said he’s known Mayweather to be an advocate for stringent testing, and all in all, he seems to have faith in the character of the athletes that they will play by the rules, and truly, on May 2, the best man will win, without resorting to usage of any odious chemical propellant.
Photo credit : Stephanie Trapp/Mayweather Promotions
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