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The Bob Arum-Nevada Testing Agency is Failing

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On October 12, 2013 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, WBO welterweight champion Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley faces Mexican modern-day legend Juan Manuel Marquez. The fight is what both men are inexplicably doing instead of fighting Manny Pacquiao again. The fight is a dangerous one. Marquez is fresh off a spectacular, career-defining one-punch execution of Pacquiao and Bradley is coming off a “Fight of the Year” candidate against Ruslan Provodnikov that saw the Coachella Valley native pushed to his very limits.
 
But there is a fight going on as preparations begin that may prevent the bout from ever happening. At the press conference announcing the fight in Los Angeles, Top Rank founder Bob Arum announced he would not be honoring the contract of Bradley, who requested strict anti-doping tests be performed by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). His manager, Cameron Dunkin and wife/adviser, Monica both have confirmed in media outlets that this is true. However, Arum has decided to pay Nevada to just do it the way VADA and USADA do it.
 
As pointed out in the following link, it isn’t that simple:
 
 

Arum’s proposal to create yet another testing organization through the Nevada commission is not going to be an easy nor timely endeavor. It’s not impossible but within the timeframe of Bradley’s contractual agreement, the Arum-Nevada Testing Agency has already failed to meet Bradley’s contracted deadline to begin testing.


Bradley’s contract called for VADA and USADA testing to begin on July 13. By the time you read this, it will be July 30. 17 days of no testing. 17 days that both fighters have trained unchecked.
 
Bradley spoke with me and co-host of LeaveItIntheRingradio.com, David Duenez about the failed testing.
 
“That’s been a headache, man,” said Bradley. “That right there has been a big headache. I mean, Marquez disagreed…I guess [Arum] disagreed about having the drug testing. He didn’t want VADA and USADA. I guess [Arum] got involved and hired another outside agency. I believe it’s WADA…or something. I have no idea who they are, what they do, what they test. I have asked for all this information. I haven’t received it yet. I think the Nevada commission is involved now. They are going to be kind of like the ones that, I guess, the ones that deliver all the dirty laundry. Should any of us test positive, then there are going to be consequences behind it. There are still many unanswered questions about this company coming in. I really don’t know what company it is and what they allow.”
 
The reason Bradley has so many questions is twofold:
 
1) It appears his promoter is not informing him of the details of the newly-forming Arum-Nevada Testing Agency.
 
2) Because it doesn’t exist yet and Arum, NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer and his legal team, et al are doubtlessly finding out how complicated this whole process is.
 
“It was WADA or it was something,” said Bradley.
 
For the record, WADA is the World Anti-Doping Agency. They do not conduct tests so much as set the WADA Code, the world standard for banned substances, allowances, etc. They accredit labs such as those in Utah, Montreal or Los Angeles used by VADA and USADA. They also accredit sample collectors such as the ones not used by Nevada.
 
This fight will be the first in which Nevada will have to use WADA Code and not just pick and choose the parts they like such as their 6:1 T/E ratio, which is 50% greater than the WADA Code’s 4:1 T/E ratio. Doubtless, the NSAC is discovering this as it learns which labs conduct the tests that VADA and USADA use to varying degrees.
 
In any case, the clock is ticking. 17 days and counting. It begs the question: Why reinvent the wheel when VADA or USADA are readily available?
 
“I mean, yeah; exactly, man,” said Bradley. “I think VADA is definitely the best one out there based on how they test for synthetic steroids. A lot of these tests, USADA don’t really test for it. I don’t know if these other agencies test for synthetic steroids. I’m really comfortable with VADA because they test everything. I guess Marquez’s camp is not comfortable with VADA whatsoever. I just think it’s unbelievable.”
 
What Bradley meant by “synthetic steroids” is the athlete drug of choice, synthetic testosterone. One need only Google “synthetic testosterone” and any sport you can think of to see his statement is true. VADA uses Carbon Isotope Ratio testing, the only test that detects synthetic testosterone, on 100% of their samples as policy. While USADA has the capability and budget to conduct CIR on every test, VADA is the only testing agency in any sport currently doing so on 100% of samples as policy.
 
And that is the main difference between the companies. A simple strict philosophy of using CIR to detect a drug that athletes are apparently using more and more. In an age when MLB’s Ryan Braun gets to keep his MVP award after getting caught by CIR for testosterone, Tim Bradley is that rare athlete who actually wants to be tested tougher than anyone else.
 
Why?
 
Because Tim Bradley doesn’t hit baseballs for a living. He doesn’t dunk or even carry a football or tackle people. He is a boxer. He hits and gets hit for a living and that, in and of itself, is dangerous enough. Why Bob Arum doesn’t seem to care about that is anyone’s guess.
 
“I just want to go in the ring. I just want both of us to be safe. I want it to be an even playing field, man,” said Bradley.
 
Make no mistake; Bradley is not pointing fingers. But everyone in boxing knows the history of Marquez’s strength coach, Angel “Memo” Heredia. It’s well documented.
 
 
But Bradley is a class act. He said before his fight with Provodnikov that anyone facing him will be subjected to anti-doping tests of the highest order. That’s just fighting safely in the year 2013.
 
“Unless you test, you dirty to me. I don’t care what anybody say. I’m not saying Marquez is dirty. I’m just saying in general, if you don’t test, man, that’s a problem for me,” said Bradley. “I told everybody I am going to start testing everyone I got in the ring with before this fight happened. I said, ‘You know what? I would love to fight Marquez if Marquez is willing to take drug tests, then let’s make it happen.’ I made that upfront. If he is willing to agree to the drug tests, then we’ll do it. If not, then hey, scratch him and we’ll move on to the next. And he agreed to it. That’s what was told to me. After the whole promotion thing, the tour and everything, he started reneging on everything. Then I heard through the grapevine that he didn’t want to take any of the tests. That’s when my promoter got involved and [in Arum’s voice], ‘We’re going to hire an outside agency. We’re going to have a third party come in here and take care of this so both fighter’s feel comfortable because I wanted VADA and he wanted USADA.”
 
As the Arum-Nevada Testing Agency continually fails to begin testing the fighters, the extra month (bringing the total thus far to three months) of testing Bradley wanted dwindles to nothing. That extra month would have provided Bradley with some semblance of out-of-competition testing, vital in the detection of fast-acting drugs.
 
“Does that scare you,” I asked about the delay in testing and lost time.
 
“Absolutely, man. And that’s what scares me about this. That’s what scares me about this. There is something called ‘cycles’ in using performance-enhancement drugs and stuff like that, man. Right now is not a good time. I was supposed to be doing this testing 15 days ago. I know Marquez is training hard right now. I start my training camp Monday. It’s a lot of valuable time that is being lost. And I think that testing definitely needs to be starting. That is one thing I mentioned to the commission; I mentioned to my manager; I mentioned to everybody, ‘We’re way behind schedule here, guys. It’s going on 15 days real soon and this testing should have started already.’”
 
Bradley feels that being treated this way despite being the champion in this situation is just par for his course. He’s being treated as the B-side because the economics say he is.
 
“I get no respect. I honestly feel that way, dude. Just to keep it real, I feel like I am getting no respect at all,” said Bradley. “I’ve been dealing with this my whole career. Whatever, man. Whatever. When I get in the ring, I am going to just do my job and that’s it. But it does feel like I am getting the short end of the stick. I know my man, Pacquiao is definitely doing VADA testing for his next fight and no outside agency or anything else is going down. I just don’t understand it, man.”
 
Things will have to come to a head soon. USADA’s deadline to begin its process is likely fast approaching. VADA conducted testing for three weeks for Bradley-Provodnikov, so it still remains a possibility. However, Arum has been in Macao this past week while Bradley-Marquez testing hasn’t even started. Will he come home to find Kizer is just ready to get the signatures and begin testing? Who knows? But this leaves yet another question:
 
Seeing as how Arum-Nevada Testing isn’t required (that is, Bob is paying for the one-time-only upgrade), Bradley likely doesn’t have to consent to it. Neither does Marquez. Don’t quote me. I’m no expert but this isn’t as easy as, “Hey, Keith. Just do it like VADA and USADA.”
 
A possible solution would be to have VADA facilitate the program with Nevada overseeing the testing and handling results management the way they always do. The NSAC could be put in charge of the results by Bradley and Marquez as well as Top Rank - which is what they want. Why is this a solution?
 
1) USADA still has questions to answer about possible impropriety in the sport. Certainly, it should answer why it allowed the state commissions to be contractually cut out of the results management process. http://www.maxboxing.com/news/max-boxing-news/usada-golden-boy-and-positive-drug-test-management-part-one
 
2) In the end, the Arum-Nevada Testing Agency will likely just use the same WADA labs and sample collectors already being used by VADA. Why waste all this time and effort?
 
Considering Nevada’s history of performance-enhancing drug use (namely testosterone) proliferation, an independent organization with a successful track record in boxing such as VADA handling testing is not unreasonable. In fact, it seems logical and it’s what the fighter - at least this one - wants.
 
An alternative is no Bradley vs. Marquez.
 
“It’s really not about the money right now. It’s about taking a stand and doing something that I believe in and that is more important to me than money,” said Bradley. “If this thing doesn’t get resolved, I don’t really think this fight is going to happen. Do I want this fight to happen? Of course. The other side that agreed we’ve got to agree and come to terms and if that doesn’t happen, then hey, I’ll be fighting someone else on that date. There’s still a lot time for testing.”
 
Clock is ticking, Bob. 17 days and counting.
 
You can email Gabriel at maxgmontoya@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gabriel_montoya and catch him every Monday on “The Next Round” with Steve Kim, now at its new home, www.blogtalkradio.com/thenextround. You can also tune in to hear him and co-host David Duenez live on the BlogTalk radio show Leave-It-In-The-Ring.com, Thursdays at 5-8 p.m., PST.
 
 

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