by Michael Woods
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency took issue with assertions made by Victor Conte in a May 9 NYFightBlog post ("Peterson-Khan II off; Victor Conte told us so").
Conte was introduced to the sports world when his BALCO empire was busted in 2004. He was indicted for distributing steroids and had to serve four months in prison in 2005 and 2006. The California resident, who now runs a nutritional supplement company, has of late been vocal about what he says is the rampant use and abuse of PEDs in the sports world. He has been working with several boxers, including ex-welterweight champion Andre Berto and current super bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire, advising them on training methods and supplement use.
After junior welterweight champion Lamont Peterson (30-1; age 28; from D.C.) tested positive for a banned substance on Tuesday, NYFightBlog checked in with Conte, the man who helped create a number of designer performance enhancers and admitted he crafted PED intake plans for some of the world's foremost athletes.
Fight fans were amped to see if Peterson could perform as well on May 19 as he did on Dec. 10, when he beat WBA and IBF champion Amir Khan via split decision. We asked for Conte's take on the positive test, and the ramifications when the disappointing news hit the wires.
Conte, not one to shrink into the background following his stint of ignominy, weighed in.
In the May 9 post, he applauded the outfit that oversaw the Peterson-Khan tests, VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Association), and opined that it was to VADA's credit that Peterson was flagged for what turned out to be usage of synthetic testosterone. Conte took heavy shots at the testing giant USADA (U.S. Anti-Doping Agency), the national anti-doping organization for the U.S. Olympic team, named by Congress the official anti-doping agency for Olympic, Pan American and Paralympic sport in the U.S.
Specifically, Conte said the USADA might not have caught Peterson because, Conte maintained, it does not use the CIR (carbon isotope ratio) test on every sample.
"If USADA were doing the testing, he said, the CIR test would only have been done if a red flag was raised from their testosterone-to-epitestosterone test, or T/E ratio, test," the original post read. "Under USADA rules, if the T/E level breaches a 4-1 ratio, a CIR is then administered."((
USADA reached out to NYFightBlog to dispute the Conte claims about when it uses the CIR test. I should have reached out to USADA earlier. ((USADA furnished a statement to this writer disputing much of what Conte said in the blog post.
"CIR is a regular part of the USADA testing program for all athletes under USADA's jurisdiction, as well as a routine part of the anti-doping programs conducted by USADA in the sport of professional boxing," USADA said. "It is completely inaccurate to say that CIR testing would only be done if a T/E ratio is 4-1."
Conte told NYFightBlog that VADA flagging the Peterson specimen will result in the embrace of the CIR test by testing entities, and the jettisoning of the T/E ratio test, which he disputed as a loophole you can fit a Mack truck through.
USADA countered that CIR has, in fact, been embraced in the testing community:
"CIR has been used by anti-doping organizations internationally since the early 2000s and there have been many athletes sanctioned by USADA and other national anti-doping organizations around the world as the result of CIR testing. CIR is an important tool in our toolbox and we use it strategically and effectively."
Conte, in the May 9 post, didn't hide his take that he thinks VADA's screen are superior to USADA's. USADA reached out to NYFightBlog to rebut what it says are erroneous assertions by Conte, and assure sports fans that their protocol and test plans are top grade.
"USADA also collects longitudinal data that allows us to monitor any fluctuations in an athlete's own biological parameters and closely examine any changes or indicators," USADA said. "(USADA) can also confirm that for the (May 5) Mayweather vs. Cotto fight, all of the samples collected from both fighters underwent CIR testing."
The fallout from the Peterson positive, shocking to the fight game community since we heard that he'd been the one to push hard for stringent testing, continues to ripple. Khan (26-2; age 25; living in England) issued a statement after word dropped that the fight was scrapped.
"No one was more shocked and upset by the cancellation of next week's fight than me," he said. "I had been training hard for almost eight weeks and was ready to put on a dazzling performance and win my belts back. I know many of you purchased tickets for the fight and had planned to make the trip to Las Vegas next weekend. For any inconvenience or hardship this cancellation has caused, I am truly sorry."
Team Peterson also put out a statement: "We still stand behind the fact that he did nothing wrong and he was more than ready to go through with the May 19 fight."
They insist that Peterson had extremely low levels of testosterone in his system, and a physician prescribed testosterone supplements in November 2011, before his fight with Khan.