by David P. Greisman
With the news that Brandon Rios tested positive for a banned substance called dimenthylamylamine (DMAA) in a test taken following his Nov. 23 decision loss to Manny Pacquiao, a group of reporters spoke with Rios’ strength and conditioning coach, Alex Ariza, and Rios’ trainer, Robert Garcia. Both men are in San Antonio for Marcos Maidana’s bout Saturday night against Adrien Broner.
BoxingScene’s full story on the Rios positive test can be found at this link. https://www.boxingscene.com/brandon-rios-takes-another-hit-with-failed-drug-test--72715
BoxingScene has also reached out to Margaret Goodman of the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) in case she wants to respond to Ariza’s and Garcia’s comments.
Ariza’s and Garcia’s comments follow below:
Ariza: “My understanding is that it’s some kind of a dietary supplement that’s sold over the counter. Everybody takes stuff they sell at like GNC, Vitamin Shoppe and things like that, but I think [trainer Robert Garcia] and I kinda figured something else out different that we have to investigate a little bit more. We think that there might have been something — at the end of the fight, the containers VADA used to retrieve the urine samples weren’t available, so they had Brandon pee into a glass.
“We have to see why he had to pee in a glass and then it was transferred from a regular drinking glass into a thing. There’s a lot of contaminants. I’m not saying that they did that. It’s just kind of odd that we went through four testings, and we never tested positive for anything, and then all of a sudden we get some kind of dietary supplement that supposedly you can get in energy drinks. I don’t think it’s Red Bull or any of those things, but I don’t know, because I haven’t seen the list.”
Q: You don’t think it was from anything you gave him?
Ariza: “No, because we submitted everything that we gave him. He was just taking regular multivitamins and trace minerals, things like that. But we weren’t giving him any other kind of things — any supplements other than that.”
Q: The first thing Richard Schaefer said was that everyone will point their finger at you, and that [doing so is] bullsh*t. What do you say to those people?
Ariza: “Again, it’s not a performance enhancing drug. It’s not any of those illegal, class 3 things. If it’s something that you can buy over the counter, maybe, I don’t know. Again, I don’t know how something like that — in China, maybe he drank something, it could’ve been any of those things. Again, it’s a dietary supplement. People have been coming up and telling me, it’s FDA approved, like it’s not a banned thing or anything like that. I don’t know the details. I don’t really know.”
Q: Have you talked to Brandon [Rios]?
Ariza: “We are going to talk to Brandon. But it’s just like we said, it seems kind of odd, with the whole camp. And we know VADA. We know that there’s a relationship with Victor Conte. We know that the way that they were doing things weren’t very professional. Having Brandon pee in a glass and then transfer it to a cup, things like that, we knew there might be an issue toward the end of this. They didn’t do things in a very sanitary or sterile environment. I don’t know. We know we didn’t do anything wrong. We know we didn’t try to trick anything or do anything like that. It’s the talk of the town right now, so I guess it’s what it is.”
Q: Do you feel like your reputation is being unfairly maligned right now?
Ariza: “I think it would be if it was something like a stimulant or if it was a PED or something like that, but if it’s a dietary supplement that you can buy over the counter…”
Q: There was an FDA warning a bit back about this substance, and it does have a stimulative effect.
Ariza: “OK. Again, I don’t know what it is. I don’t know if they’re selling it over the counter. I don’t think it was anything that we did intentionally, if we did do it, or if it was something that we knowingly did. I don’t know what it comes in. That’s the problem. It could’ve been an energy drink that he drank. We just don’t know.”
Q: Victor Conte’s going crazy about this on Twitter. What do you say to people right now?
Ariza: “You know what, we’ll let them investigate it. Let’s find out what it is before we start speculating or anything. We’re only worried about it wasn’t something steroidal, it wasn’t PEDs or anything.”
Q: Was this the first time that you dealt with VADA, and if so, was there anything about the process that you would change?
Ariza: “We just thought that the way they did things isn’t very professional. We thought that the way they did the samples wasn’t done in a sanitary or sterile environment, the fact that everything was done openly. We thought that the fact they had Brandon pee in a regular drinking glass was kind of bizarre. After the fight, nobody was really thinking of those things, and now here we are.”
(Robert Garcia joins the scrum)
Garcia: “After the fight, they didn’t have the containers. He just peed in a drinking glass and then they poured it into the containers.”
Ariza: “Everything we’ve done with USADA is completely different. They’ve been so professional. They’ve been very discreet in the way they do it, in a very secluded area, a very sterile area.” [Ariza then repeats an allegation that they’d been told by a tester at one point in the lead-up to the fight that Pacquiao hadn’t yet been tested. VADA’s Margaret Goodman has refuted this allegation in the past. That story can be read at https://www.boxingscene.com/vada-reps-shake-heads-arizas-false-accusations--70916 ].
Q: Robert, do you have any questions about the timing of this?
Garcia: “Right now, my main focus is ‘Chino’ Maidana. I’m not worried about this right now. After the fight, then we’ll deal with it. I have no idea. We’ll talk about it, and we’ll see exactly what really happened.”
Q: Alex, do you have any questions about the timing of this?
Ariza: “Yeah, don’t you think it’s a little odd? It’s been three weeks, and then all of a sudden something like this pops up. He’s been tested four times through the whole camp. We disclosed everything that we were using, all the supplements. They never said anything or complained about it. Now all of a sudden this comes out.”
Pick up a copy of David’s new book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide . Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]