Lucian Bute PED Scandal – Bute “Never, Never, Never”

Lucian Bute PED Scandal – Lucien Bute called a press conference on Friday, May 27th to address the recent news that a positive result for a banned substance has come back in the testing around his April 30th fight with Badou Jack for the WBC World super middleweight belt.

As is usually the case in these types of situations, Bute has emphatically denied any use of PED’s, not only for this fight but throughout his 20-plus year career as an amateur and professional boxer. In addressing the media at his Montreal gym Bute asked rhetorically “Why take something now?”

Hmmm. Why would an athlete in his late thirties whose late career resurgence has led to a few last chances at re-capturing past glory do steroids? The rhetoric around his recent acclaimed performances against James DeGale and Badou Jack in failed title bids were that he fought great, but that his championship window is closing. The talk was full of reminders that he had already been deemed past his prime as far back as 2012 when he lost the IBF World title he held for five years to Carl Froch. There are plenty of reasons to pick up the needle late in life is the answer that Bute would hear.

The entire situation has a “groundhogs day” feel to it. In his press conference, Bute emphatically claimed innocence. He elaborated saying that he was not accusing anybody on his team, or the commission, or anyone for that matter of wrong-doing, but that something was indeed wrong because he has never taken a banned substance.

Echoes of the recent defense by Australian heavyweight Lucas Browne, who tested positive after his March of 2016 bout with Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny, Russia. Browne too denied any and all use of a PED, and he went further than Bute, claiming he tested negative prior to leaving Australia for Russia and that somewhere while he was in Grozny, the substance was introduced to his blood or urine. In Browne’s case, a second test also came back positive and the now former WBA world heavyweight champion is reported to have hired lawyers to further advance his defense. What court is going to hear a case on this matter?

Nevertheless, Bute should pay close attention to the Browne case, because the same thing is going to happen. The fact is that the standard defense here by the fighters is to deny usage, and in the 21st century that has grown to include casting doubts on the commissions, on the testers and the testing process and on the laboratories. The WBA stripped Browne, and in Bute’s case the likely result will be that the boxing commission will issue him a fine and a ban. The WBC will work with the commission and had Bute won the title, they would have stripped him the way the WBA did Browne.

Yes, the fighters may all be guilty, but that has not and cannot be established at this current time because there is no entity that can truly look into the allegations they are making in defense.


VADA The Answer?


The Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, VADA for short, is considered state of the art, top of the line in the modern era of PED testing. Now VADA testing is expensive, and they are a private (non-profit) entity that asks fighters to “apply” for their process. Not everyone uses them, but once in use there is the assumption that the samples are subject to the most modern and rigorous testing available.

VADA’s President and board chairman is Dr. Margaret Goodman. The agency’s web site lists nine other board members, primarily medical and legal experts. All is well so far, as the credentials of the people listed are strong and their mission is clear.

But this does not answer the theory set forth by Lucas Browne. The same concept was potentially hinted at by Bute. “We don’t know who or how, but somehere in the process the sample got tainted.” So what is said process?

That banning steroids is seen as a western concept by other areas of the world is very clear. Many countries, especially Eastern European or former Soviet-axis countries, view the whole concept of steroid use differently. To them it is tantamount to banning any fastball over 100 miles an hour in baseball. It is a limitation to the competition. That VADA is U.S.-based and manned by an almost entirely western staff has an effect. VADA is likely greeted in most places with a reaction like “here come the Americans with their rules again.”

It is in that type of environment that VADA must hire consultants to handle the samples.

Now, hiring outsiders to arrive at a fighter’s home or gym has proven complicated. Remember, by signing up for VADA the fighters disclose their schedule and whereabouts at all times, and VADA people can show up just about anywhere asking for a test.

MMA experienced a case with one of their champions, 145 lb Brazilian featherweight titlist Jose Aldo. Aldo was training in his gym and a person showed up to request a VADA test sample. Aldo and his camp contacted the local commission in Rio de Janiero, and the commission showed up and claimed jurisdiction and took the sample.

As a consequence, the VADA contact is likely someone from the local boxing commissions or from the local medical community who has the right contacts to gather the sample. If not, at the very least, those entities are made aware that VADA is on the way. All along this trail, persons are likely working for a fee, and truthfully the process becomes even more risky with volunteers. In general, the possibility exists that VADA is forced to work at a local level in some places with the very people they need to be watchful for.

But how does this affect Lucien Bute, who fought in the good ole U.S. of A. under the watchful eye of the Washington D.C. Boxing and Wrestling Commission?

The D.C. Commission is hot right now in the boxing world. The D.C. Armory has played host to several major televised fights this year and there are more booked. Big fights mean a budget, so the commission likely has a handful of full-time employees including commission chairman Adam Weers.

Now, I did not attend the Bute-Jack fight, but for the bigger shows most if not all of the commission attends to properly oversee the event. It is also customary to bring in a group of “assistant” commissioners to help fill in all the positions, many of whom may be volunteers. With people stationed in all the locker room areas, the commission monitors each fighter throughout fight day. Samples are brought to a central location to be labelled and sealed for transfer.

The fights were on a Saturday. Where was the sample Sunday, and the whole way to the lab? Bute appeared to hint this may be his defense when he prefaced a mention of the commission and his own team by saying “I’m not blaming anybody.”

Whatever the final results will be, Bute’s test is already perceived as a black eye to the sport of boxing. Browne’s case has not received the international media attention it deserves and his defense will likely go nowhere. The WBC will also have to rule on the recent case of heavyweight title challenger Alexander Povetkin, who tested positive prior to his fight against Deontay Wilder, leading to the fight being cancelled. That case may turn out to be an exception to the rule. You can expect the promoters and Povetkin to speak for the hosts and NOT the Russian Boxing commission, and Povetkin and his backer, Andrey Ryabinsky, have the deepest pockets of all. Without the commission to hide behind, the WBC may go ahead and try to re-schedule that one.

As we progress into the 21st century, the specter of steroids and PED use will continue to rear it’s ugly head. Bute is the latest fighter to be implicated but sadly he will not be the last. There’s no end in sight.


Comment on this article


-Radam G :

Lucas Browne got Russian pucked. He was clearly set up from the bet up. There are smelly rats stinking all the way from Russia. As for Bute, it a 50- 50 chance that the Money Team set him up. Holla!

-Kid Blast :

Excellent article.

-StormCentre :

Yep, well written piece M1. As most know from the many posts I have written here about PEDs; this issue is not only here to stay - but complex, multidimensional, and often presented to the public in an everted way. Especially by some found positive. To some extent, perhaps, we all have to start thinking in reverse in order to see it (the way it's currently being presented) the right way up. May as well legalize the entire spectrum - or (as M1 put it) specter - of PEDs. Prolly wouldn't reduce the uptake of users 3 weeks either side of a reasonably well publicized fight by much. Rio Olympics and the relevant boxing authorities don't look good in this regard. Geez . . that's a big surprise. Onto other matters . . . I read somewhere recently that Arum called for Floyd to fight Pac in Manila. What a laugh; like that will happen. Now, if both that and anti-doping were to happen, imagine all the above considerations (M1 has raised) that would apply. Of course I am not saying that such a proposal would be a way for Pac to fight Floyd doped up; or vice versa. Anyway, I reckon it will snow in winter on the Sun before MayPac2 happens; let alone in Manila. Nice cash-grab-try Bob. PBC and the evil wicked Haymon apparently have those money strings tied around your TRstones pretty tight I hear. Payback is a bytch. Still love you though.
Storm. :) :)

-brownsugar :

Interesting post Storm... I have been upgrading my PED knowledge over the last month since the unfortunate cancellation of a fight that I have been looking forward to seeing has rocked the boxing world ( Povetkin/Wilder). Some fans say since the report indicated that he only had a few molecules in his sample. ... Wilder should should have continued with the fight. But I understand the logic of Deas (Wilder's manager). All they found were trace elements in Povetkin's sample but a trace is merely evidence that the drug was in his body, although it tells us nothing about the quantity, schedule - duration, or how much Povetkin was enhanced by the therapy. Wilders manager made the only responsible decision that he could. The author was correct when he said the culture was different in the Eastern Block than it is in the west. In regards to PED use. So much so that Russian sports and the state formally know as East Germany had at one time become synonymous with steroid use. Newscasters used to joke during the Games about what brand of razor blades the east German Women's track team was using. I kid you not. And recently the Russia's entire Olympic Track The has been banned from the upcoming Summer Olympics due to pattern of failed tests. The response by their peers was quite interesting. The community of the international amateur athletes responses was almost universal: "WHY, THEY WERE ALREADY BETTER THAN US?" (technique wise I assume) ironic huh? As far as Bute is concerned,. ... denial means very little after the results are in. Marion Jones professed her innocence for seven years before caving-in under the pressure. How long did Lance Armstrong evade detection? a decade? Bute was praised for his spirited effort against both Degale and Jack,. But Bute has never been known for increasing the pace in the final rounds. I won't pass judgement, but it's not 1976 anymore, the PED abuse game is getting quite old. Bad beef, cold medication use, and the oft used " someone spiked my sandwich " cannot be accepted at face value any more.

-StormCentre :

Yes, the evidence chain is not only nested and branched out - but also unreliable at the best of times and in the clear light of day. Makes for both, a great alibi and opportunity to poison the waters; without anyone ever being able to completely know what's what. Know what you mean about the Eastern Bloc and German crew and their relaxed attitude to PEDs. That's been going on for decades. Like I say . . . . This issue is here to stay. :) :)