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Old 05-24-2004, 04:33 PM #1
Curly Howard
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Default Drug Re-Test Absolves Cooper Of Wrongdoing

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[May 23, 2004] After reportedly failing a post-fight drug test, K-1 “Battle At The Bellagio II” tournament runner-up Dewey “The Black Kobra” Cooper tested negative for any illegal substances during a voluntary follow-up exam on Tuesday, May 18th.

“I knew the whole time I was innocent. I’m not sure what happened exactly, but something had to be wrong with the first test because I knew that I’ve never done any illegal steroids in my life,” said the 29-year-old Cooper, who, at 201 pounds, weighed in the lightest of the eight April 30th “Battle At The Bellagio II” tournament combatants. Before reaching the event’s championship round, Cooper’s speed and agility helped him defeat 247-pound Nobu Hayashi of Japan as well as American “Mighty Mo,” who, at 283 pounds, represented the heaviest of the tournament participants. “Just look at my body. I’ve got way too much to lose to do something like that.”

According to a complaint filed by The Nevada State Athletic Commission on May 11th, the results of Cooper’s initial post-“Battle At The Bellagio II” drug test showed the presence of nandrolone, an outlawed, anabolic steroid, in the fighter’s system.

Distraught with the allegations, Cooper pleaded with commissioner head Mark Ratner that he be permitted to retake the drug test immediately. “I didn’t like being in limbo. I said I wanted to do another test, but Mark said it wouldn’t be a good idea because the commission wouldn’t pay for me to take another test,” said Cooper, who took money out of his pocket to have Quest Diagnostics administer the re-analysis at 5:30 PM on Tuesday after Ratner finally granted him the necessary referral to undergo the second test. “All I wanted the commission to do was set up the test because I didn’t want anyone to think I paid off the doctor. I didn’t want the public to start forming any conspiracy theories like that.”

On Friday afternoon, Ratner phoned Cooper with the good news. “He was like ‘Dewey, there’s been a tremendous turn of events. You’re clean. There’s absolutely no trace of any steroids.”

Cooper maintains that the only substance he had been ingesting prior to the tournament was Pureform, a nutritional supplement sold on the retail market. To strengthen his claim of innocence, he obtained an official letter from the supplement company stating that its product does not contain any prohibited steroid substances.

Cooper’s ordeal is expected to be wrapped up tomorrow, Monday, May 24th, during a hearing with the athletic commission. There, the three-time K-1 tournament veteran and two-time world kickboxing champion will be required to make a formal statement regarding his week-long episode. “I’m happy to do that. All week, I’ve been going through some severe depression over this,” said an emotional Cooper. “It’s just so hard when you train for something and finally have a good night and, then, everyone’s raining on you, saying that you did well because you cheated.”

Of late, the fighter’s life outside the ring has been filled with stress and tragedy. While he was putting on the best performance of his K-1 career on April 30th, his father lay in a hospital bed after suffering a severe stroke on February 1st. To honor his dad, a Vietnam veteran, Cooper wore trunks during the tournament with the words “I love you Daddy” embroidered on the reverse side. Recently, he also lost an aunt. “I’ve had a lot of bad things happen to me in the past, but I’ve never had anything this critical,” said Cooper. “Finally, I got some credit for something and then, one day, everything was different. It was a nightmare.”
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