By Rick Reeno
The controversy continues with the now canceled junior welterweight rematch between Amir Khan and WBA/IBF champion Lamont Peterson. 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 was given the 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 first fight 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.
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.
There is now an ongoing controversy over the lack of communication between the involved parties.
Schaefer, Golden Boy and Team Khan are furious with VADA and Team Peterson - because the two parties were aware of a positive test result since April 13 - and Golden Boy/Team Khan were first informed of the issue on May 7th - and not by VADA or Team Peterson but by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
If Golden Boy was made aware of the issue on April 13 or around that time period, Schaefer is confident a replacement opponent would have been secured for Khan.
"I got an email early [Monday] morning from [Golden Boy matchmaker] Robert Diaz telling me to call him, that it was urgent. He said that you've got to talk to Keith [Kizer], that there is an issue with Peterson. I got on the phone and I was given the news," Schaefer told BoxingScene.com.
"Then thankfully Keith forwarded to me the letter that he received from VADA, which they didn't even copy us - after taking our money and cashing our check, they didn't even have the courtesy to copy us on that letter. It's just shocking."
As posted earlier on BoxingScene, VADA is claiming they were not contractually obligated to provide Golden Boy Promotions , or Team Khan, with information related to Peterson's positive test result.
"VADA has respect for Richard Schaefer, GBP, and their commitment to clean sport. However, VADA disagrees with Mr. Schaefer's characterizations of the contractual relationship between GBP and VADA."
"There was never a final or signed contract between GBP and VADA. When VADA became involved with the Peterson-Khan fight in March, the individual athletes signed up for the VADA program and executed the proper documentation."
"The bottom line is that VADA had no contract with GBP. This is not a mere technicality. It involves issues of medical ethics."
BoxingScene.com: Schaefer's reaction to VADA's statements on the situation.
Schaefer: First of all I want to thank VADA for detecting the use of testosterone, a banned substance, by Lamont Peterson. That part of their job was well done, because there is no room in boxing or any sport for that matter - for banned substances in athletes.
However, my disappointment in VADA as it relates to properly communicating these results is unchanged. In fact, even their most recent statements, that there was no contract, only further magnifies my disappointment at the situation. They obviously have no clue as it relates to properly run an organization. It is shocking to me to read these statements.
Why would they cash the check, referenced in the agreement, if there was no agreement? I will hand the matter over to our attorneys and make no further comments as it relates to VADA.
BoxingScene.com: Do you believe Team Peterson had an equal responsibility in disclosing that positive result in a timely manner?
Schaefer: We have an email from [Peterson's attorney] Jeff Fried, clearly stating that the results will be shared and if he gets any results he will share them with us. I have that email. This is absolutely disgraceful the way it was handled by Team Peterson and VADA. There is no question about that.
And both parties I think are better served to say - 'I'm sorry that were didn't share it with you, it was a mistake' - than coming up with these bullsh*t statements because that is only making the situation worse and its not going to make the situation better. They are at fault, they should admit it and we move on. But this kind of behavior is obviously is pushing me to the point now where I have to initiate legal action against these parties because this is wrong.
BoxingScene.com: How shocked were you when Keith Kizer advised you of the situation and were you more shocked when Peterson advised VADA that he was given the testosterone pellets back in November, before the first Khan fight?
Schaefer: Obviously the whole situation is shocking - from starting with the fact that an athlete took testosterone pellets to then the lack of communication with the testing organization and the athlete. These are not newcomers, they know the fight game. They know what's at risk. They know what kind of money being spent. They are fully aware. How would they feel if it was the other way around and Khan would not have communicated? That's wrong. You basically eliminate any opportunity for your opponent to find a replacement, for the hotel to have a replacement event, for the network to have a replacement event - and [you deny] the thousands of fans who bought tickets already, made hotel arraignments, travel arraignments to go to Las Vegas to enjoy a fight. That is just plain, simply wrong.
And now for people, whether its lawyers or its not lawyers, to go and spin it in a way where 'we're under no obligation to tell the Nevada Athletic Commission, to tell Golden Boy and for that matter to tell anybody' - that is plain straight out bullsh*t......bullsh*t, and you can print that in capital letters. That kind of behavior is unprofessional and disrespectful. And unprofessional and disrespectful I don't tolerate. Those parties will be well advised to stop spinning that bullsh*t and start telling the truth - acknowledging that they should have informed us.
[Peterson] said this is the first time that he's had that procedure but in a recent interview that he gave today on RingTV, Peterson said that he's been seeing this doctor for several years and says that he feels comfortable with this doctor.
I don't know what to believe or what not to believe. But what I do know is that we have a contractual right to know the results from Team Peterson, from VADA - and anybody who is going to discredit that or say different is lying and will have to pay for it. Those people who are now trying to make a mockery of this, those people I am going to go after. As I said before, they are better well served to get their stories straight.
BoxingScene.com: You read my recent interview with Keith Kizer . Keith openly acknowledges that because Peterson's testosterone level was being kept under a normal 4 to 1 ratio, the use of synthetic testosterone would likely not have been detected under normal Nevada testing procedures. [VADA used a Carbon Isotope Ratio test, which detects synthetic testosterone regardless of the level.]
Schaefer: You know I had another reporter talk to me the other day, Gabriel Montoya, and he was telling me that the use of these pellets is quite widespread among athletes. I think what we need to do is have testing procedures updated.
Look at the facts. We have a guy who admitted himself that he took testosterone pellets, back last November.....I think November 12th in Las Vegas. And it obviously showed up in a test in March. Obviously it was still in his system. Now can you imagine how much it must have been in his system for the December fight with Amir Khan in Washington, DC. And obviously in Washington, DC - I'm sure it tested negative, because if it tested positive [the] Washington [commission] would have had to tell us. I'm sure it tested negative. Now for people to say he was tested in Washington and it tested negative - what does that mean? They are not equipped to detect the more sophisticated uses of testosterone which I had no idea about, which I just found out about. I never heard about [testosterone] pellet implants in your hips. So I think the way we test athletes, it has to be redefined because its just not right to have an uneven playing field.
BoxingScene.com: Floyd Mayweather Jr. has long complained about the normal testing procedures. You've stood side by side with him, as it relates to that subject.
Schaefer: Floyd Mayweather has really been the pioneer for bringing more sophisticated drug testing to the sport of boxing. I remember when he started that a couple of years ago, you can look back at my interviews and I applauded him for that and I'm standing with him shoulder to shoulder on this. You have something like this, where you have a big loss and you can't insure this, but you can not put money above health and life and we never will.
I am upset about the fact that Peterson took this. I am upset about the fact that we had to cancel the event and I am upset about the fact that it was not properly communicated to us and did not allow us to find a replacement so the event could go on. The fact that it cost us a lot of money, I'm not upset about. I look at that as hopefully an investment to better the sport. And hopefully it introduces better and more sophisticated testing methods to the sport of boxing - then I think that its an investment that's worth every penny.