By Rick Reeno
As BoxingScene.com previously reported, the junior welterweight rematch between Amir Khan and WBA/IBF champion Lamont Peterson has been canceled. The fight was scheduled for May 19th at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. However, Khan and Golden Boy Promotions were informed on Monday that Peterson had tested positive for “synthetic testosterone."
Both fighters agreed, per the contract terms for their rematch, to take part in a random drug testing protocol.
Peterson took testosterone pellets prior to the first fight with Khan, according to Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer, citing Peterson’s attorney Jeff Fried. The fight first took place on December 10th in Peterson's hometown of Washington, DC. According to Team Peterson, the boxer's doctor gave him the pellets after his testosterone levels were found to be low.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, making a statement Tuesday on a conference call, said the testing had been done unannounced at the March 19 press conference in Los Angeles announcing the fight. The samples from Peterson and Khan were taken to a WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) drug testing lab in Los Angeles and split into “A” and “B” samples, Schaefer said.
The “A” results were reported back to the Volunteer Anti Doping Association, or VADA, on April 12. Peterson’s team was told of the results on April 13 and told of his rights to have his “B” sample analyzed. That analysis was done on April 30, Schaefer said. That test confirmed the results of the “A” sample analysis, Schaefer said — that the sample was consistent with administration of an anabolic steroid such as testosterone. Schaefer said follow-up samples were taken from Peterson on April 13. Those samples came back negative for banned substances on May 2, Schaefer said.
Kizer spoke with BoxingScene.com, and discussed all of the major issues related to the Peterson scandal.
BoxingScene.com: What led to your decision not to license Lamont Peterson?
Kizer: We were first informed of Mr. Peterson's use of a banned substance, and subsequent drug test failure, on Monday....two days ago. We knew nothing about it before then. I immediately informed Golden Boy, who had no idea, Mr. Khan had no idea. I also informed HBO, the Mandalay Bay, the IBF, the WBA - and they all indicated to me that they had been kept in the dark and had no clue [and] appreciated me letting them know. Subsequent to that, I had some conversation with Mr. Fried, who is Mr. Peterson's attorney, and forwarded the information that he gave me to the commissioners. The commissioners are up to speed on everything.
I have the ability, as the executive director, to issue a license administratively to a fighter like Mr. Peterson. I have not [issued a license] and will not do so because of the three issues involved. A. - the use of the banned substance. B. - the failure to disclose the use of the banned substance in a proper manner. And C. - the drug test failure per his agreement with VADA. Those are all important issues that have to be addressed and answered fully and has to be done publicly.
The second reason for that decision, by me, this is such an important issue that the full commission needs to make that ruling, not just its executive director. The commission, through chairman Skip Avansino, is wiling to have a special hearing on the matter for the good of the fighters, the fight fans and the sport. Unfortunately we can not have such a hearing until Tuesday the 15th [of May] at the earliest.
I informed Mr. Fried on behalf of Mr. Peterson and I informed Mr. Schaefer on behalf of Golden Boy on the earliest we can do the meeting. Apparently Golden Boy has decided to scrap the whole card because the lateness would not allow them to properly proceed with the event, [and] too much uncertainty but that's their call.
BoxingScene.com: Would this entire issue have been avoided if VADA, or someone from Team Peterson, would have informed your commission, or the other parties, about the positive test back in April?
Kizer: I don't what the deal is. I've heard two different stories. I've heard they were supposed to let Khan and Golden Boy know and they didn't. I've also heard they didn't have that obligation to do so, but I don't understand why they wouldn't have built that into the agreement.
As you know, very similar, we caught Mr. [Alistar] Overeem with a failed drug test, very similar. It was a urine sample that was taken in March and a positive result came back in April. We immediately informed Mr. Dos Santos, we immediately let the UFC know, we immediately let the MGM know and there will be a fight for Mr. [Junior] Dos Santos on May 26th and there will be a card. All of the undercard fighters will get their fights on May 26th so the fight fans and the clean fighters are not penalized by this.
Why VADA would penalize the clean fighters and the fight fans by not disclosing it is something that you would have to ask Dr. [Margaret] Goodman, but I do have to give her and her group credit for catching this positive test. But I do think that they have to re-look at their reporting procedures.
BoxingScene.com: If VADA was not involved, a lot of people have asked if this was something that the Nevada Commission would have caught in Peterson's system?
Kizer: Probably not from the facts that I know. His [testosterone] level, by his doctor, was kept under 4 to 1, which is the lowest level used...some use 4 to 1 and some use 6 to 1. Even VADA uses 4 to 1, but they also use this CIR [carbon isotope ratio] test to detect synthetic testosterone regardless of your level and that's what happened here.
My understanding is that his level was 3.77 to 1...and I don't know if that was a purposeful attempt to conceal [his use] by keeping it under 4 to 1 or not. That's a question for someone else and not to me. But regardless, the CIR was able to catch it without the level being high.
BoxingScene.com: For those who don't know, what would be considered a normal or abnormal ratio?
Kizer: We use [an acceptable] level of 6 to 1. Just like USADA of VADA, any use is prohibited without prior approval so the violation would be the same. In fact my understanding is, I don't know if it was USADA or another group, that had someone who had a level or .5 to 1, way below normal, but some of that .5 was synthetic testosterone and that athlete was subject to discipline.
BoxingScene.com: Would this entire mess have been avoided if Peterson disclosed, back in March or prior to the VADA testing, that he was prescribed these testosterone pellets?
Kizer: That would have solved the time issue. What the final determination of the commission would be, or whether there was legitimate therapeutic use I don't know. That is something that would have to be investigated, our doctors would have to take a look at it and we might require additional testing and we might require more information, so I have no idea how this would have been resolved if a timely [exemption] request would have been made.
BoxingScene.com: If Peterson wants to fight in Nevada in the future, against Khan or otherwise, I assume he would be required to appear before the commission?
Kizer: I will not give Mr. Peterson a license administratively. So if he wants a license from the Nevada State Athletic Commission - he will need to appear before the five commissioners.
BoxingScene.com: Will the Peterson incident be addressed at the next commission meeting, which I believe is May 21?
Kizer: The next meeting is May 21. There were no plans [to discuss the issue]. We thought the fight would be done by then. I think it would still be difficult. Its been two days since we got notice and we're still waiting on information and our doctors still have to review everything. I think its hard to even have it then, but the commission was willing to do a special meeting [on May 15], to expedite it for the good of the fans.
The people I feel bad for, not just the fight fans, are the undercard fighters. Some of them were probably waiting for the paycheck to pay the rent next month. Why everyone was kept in the dark by VADA and Team Peterson is still something I don't understand and something that VADA can correct in the future.
Editor's Note : Khan's team will expore a "no-contest" ruling in Peterson loss [ Click Here To Read ].