Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Bob Bennett has sent a strongly worded letter to Eddie Hearn (managing director of Matchroom Sports) objecting to the manner in which Matchroom has handled the refusal of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr to provide a test sample to a Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency collection agent on October 24. In part, Bennett's letter warns, "Grounds exist to bring disciplinary action against Matchroom before the NSAC. If Matchroom does not take the necessary action to come into compliance with Nevada law, our office will consider its options."
As reported yesterday on Boxing Scene, Chavez was scheduled to fight Danny Jacobs at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on December 20. But the NSAC placed Chavez on temporary suspension following his refusal to submit to the drug test. Matchroom then contacted multiple states and found a site for the fight in Phoenix, Arizona.
Bennett's letter to Hearn declares:
Nevada law prohibits any promoter licensed by the NSAC from having any dealings related to unarmed combat with a person who has been suspended by the NSAC. Nevada law also prohibits a promoter from permitting a person under suspension from participating in any contest or exhibition of unarmed combat during the period of suspension. Any violation of Nevada or Federal law by a licensed promoter provides grounds for disciplinary action.
In addition, under the Ali Act, no boxer is permitted to box while under suspension from any boxing commission due to, among other things, failure of a drug test. Under Nevada law, an unarmed combatant that refuses to submit to the collection of a sample or specimen upon the request of the NSAC or its representative, or otherwise evades the collection thereof, has committed an anti-doping violation and is subject to disciplinary action just as he or she would be if he or she failed a drug test.
Based on Matchroom’s ongoing dealings with Chavez while he has been on suspension, it is apparent that Matchroom has violated Nevada law. Further, given that Chavez’s suspension is based on his refusal to submit to a drug test requested by the NSAC, and thus an anti-doping violation, it is apparent that the event scheduled to occur in Arizona on December 20, 2019, is in violation of the Ali Act. As such, Matchroom is promoting an event that potentially violates federal law.
Bennett's letter further states:
On November 7, 2019, I contacted Shaun Palmer, Matchroom’s Head of Legal and Business Affairs, and informed him of the legal issues with Matchroom’s dealings with Chavez discussed herein. I further informed him of the potential consequences should Matchroom not take corrective measures to comply with Nevada law, including that a violation of Nevada law would be considered by the NSAC when deciding whether to renew Matchroom’s promoter’s license.
Matchroom Boxing USA announced today that tickets for Jacobs-Chavez went on sale this morning. It's likely that Danny Jacobs will fight in Phoenix on December 20. It's less likely that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr will be his opponent.
Thomas Hauser's email address is [email protected]. His most recent book – A Dangerous Journey: Another Year Inside Boxing – was published this autumn by the University of Arkansas Press. In 2004, the Boxing Writers Association of America honored Hauser with the Nat Fleischer Award for career excellence in boxing journalism.