by David P. Greisman
Dr. Margaret Goodman of the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association recently spoke with BoxingScene.com about VADA and about testing for performance-enhancing drugs in combat sports.
In part 1, available at this link , Goodman described why VADA needed to be founded and how the agency came to be.
In part 2, available at this link , Goodman delved into the differences in testosterone ratios allowed by various states and agencies, the costs of conducting stringent testing for performance-enhancing drugs.
In this part, Goodman discusses how and when VADA releases the results of its testing, and what Victor Conte’s role is.
BoxingScene.com: What kind of results, in detail, can VADA release publicly when a fighter tests positive, or even when a fighter is negative for everything?
Goodman: “We do not release results unless the athlete asks us to. We are just a testing organization that facilitates the testing. That is not our role. The role is up to the athletic commission or the fighter or the promotional entity. It’s just like when you have any medical tests done. Those results are leaked to you. We are not the agency that is supposed to release results, per se, unless the athlete asks us to.
“VADA gives the result to whomever the athlete might request us to, but they [the results] also go to the athletic commission where the fighter is either pending a license or holds a license; they go to the Association of Boxing Commissions; they go to FightFax; and then whomever else the athlete asks us to release them to. It’s up to them to release the results or to act on those results.”
BoxingScene.com: But would it be up to them to release it to the commission, to the ABC, or to FightFax?
Goodman: “No, that’s automatic. The waivers that the fighters sign, that’s one thing they agree to is to have the results released to the athletic commission or commissions, the Association of Boxing Commissions and FightFax.”
BoxingScene.com: As for the timing, when would that happen for the results, say, of a positive test?
Goodman: “It depends on what the athletes agreed to. Obviously if there’s a confirmed ‘B’ sample, it gets released right away. As far as releasing it earlier than that [such as for an ‘A’ sample being positive], then that is discussed at the time they enroll with our organization.”
BoxingScene.com: USADA has released dates and results for its testing. I haven’t seen that kind of information from VADA beyond 1) when a fighter tests positive or, 2) when all the tests have come back, and there’s a summary on your website saying, in essence, “Shane Mosley and Canelo Alvarez have completed their VADA testing.” Will there be more information provided in terms of dates and results for each test?
Goodman: “If the athlete requests it.”
BoxingScene.com: What is Victor Conte’s role with VADA?
Goodman: “Victor Conte has no role with VADA. He, among others like Dick Pound and Dr. Don Catlin, have educated me on the topic of PEDs. He is certainly knowledgeable on the topic of PEDs. I think part of the reason why PED testing is not as rigorous as it should be in boxing and MMA is that commissions are not speaking to the right people.”
BoxingScene.com: Conte has said many times that he’s looking to clean up sports, and that his past is just that — his past. But given his past as someone who helped athletes beat drug testing, do you see a conflict with him both serving as an adviser to a drug-testing body while also working with athletes who potentially are going to be tested by that drug-testing body?
Goodman: “A drug-testing body can and should ask advice of many people on a continuing basis. No one other than the officers and board members should serve as official advisers. Victor Conte is neither a board member nor officer of VADA.
“I saw that Nevada is setting up a committee to review PED testing. They indicated the panel may be comprised of trainers, officials, etc. At a recent NSAC meeting, the NSAC chairman even asked a fighter who had tested positive for testosterone and later applied and received a TUE for testosterone to advise the commission.
“I’m not certain I agree with that, but I believe that people like Conte should be called forward by commissions and the Association of Boxing Commissions to help them determine a better way to use the resources at hand to tackle this problem. Recently, Conte spoke as a keynote speaker at the Association of Ring Physicians in San Francisco. They were right to go to someone with experience. WADA’s Dick Pound has recently consulted Conte.
“Too often we wear blinders and act afraid of the truth. It is another reason why things change at a snail’s pace, if at all. We need to begin seeking advice of people that understand the problem.”
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter @fightingwords2 or send questions/comments via email at [email protected]