By Ryan Maquiñana
The fallout from welterweight Brandon Rios’ positive drug test for the stimulant DMAA following his unanimous decision loss to Manny Pacquiao on Nov. 23 continues to ripple through the ranks, and now members of the boxing world have begun to offer their takes on the matter.
Nutritionist Victor Conte, who admittedly has an adverse relationship with Rios’ strength and conditioning coach, Alex Ariza, took aim at Ariza’s methods in a Friday conversation with BoxingScene.com.
“How could you not know about DMAA if you’re involved in protecting your fighter from having a positive test or consuming something that will cause a positive test?” Conte asked. “Whose job was that? I would assume it would be Alex Ariza. He did a bad job. My opinion? He should be fired.”
Conte, who has been part of the camps of several fighters who have submitted to drug testing administered by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA), outlined the process that occurs before one enters the random testing program. Both Rios and Pacquiao were tested by VADA during the buildup to the fight.
“When you fill out the enrollment form with VADA, they ask you to list every single nutritional supplement and medication you take,” Conte said. “Then they run your list through the database.
“And if there’s anything that’s banned or prohibited, they come back and they tell you, and within two days of the time you enroll, you’re notified that you should not be taking this, because it’s on the list.”
According to VADA chief Dr. Margaret Goodman, while Pacquiao passed all five drug tests, Rios only passed four out of his five tests. The failed test was from a urine sample taken on fight night. Conte explained why he believes Rios’ final test came up positive.
“What they test for out of competition is not what they test for in competition,” Conte said. “They don’t test for stimulants out of competition. On fight night, when they collect the sample, they include the stimulants.
“So then on fight night, because it’s a nervous system stimulant -- it helps you perform in the ring -- it doesn’t help you train. You don’t want to use it for training, so they don’t even test for it. “
Conte made a parallel between VADA testing and the Olympic testing undergone by track and field superstars like sprinter Usain Bolt.
“In other words, the week before the Olympic Games, Usain Bolt’s tests would not test for stimulants,” Conte said. “The day he runs the 100 meters and wins the gold medal, they test for stimulants.”
Conte opined that Ariza and nutritionist Teri Tom should be held most accountable for Rios’ setback under the needle.
“My deduction is the following: This (DMAA) was not on the list that was provided to VADA, so it was not disclosed. Why was it not disclosed? Five Jamaican athletes were busted for this 18 months ago … It was in many, many papers.
“So, if that’s your job, the job of Alex Ariza, to be on top of what you can and can’t use, and you saw Brandon with Teri Tom, (saying): ‘We’re holding up the bottles and we’re taking all the supplements, and we’ve got the best experts and we’re looking at all this.’ Well, guess what? You (expletive) up big time.”
Conte also downplayed the possibility of Rios taking the illegal substance without clearing it with his team.
“Now did (Brandon) sneak around and go out and take something on his own?” Conte asked. “Not very likely. Somebody is stupid. Is it Alex, or is it Teri Tom?
“If somebody did it behind (Ariza’s) back, hey, maybe he didn’t know, it’s possible. I can only say that I think it’s likely that the blame belongs to Alex Ariza in conjunction with Teri Tom.”
David Greisman procured Ariza and Rios’ trainer Robert Garcia’s reaction to Rios’ test: https://www.boxingscene.com/ariza-garcia-respond-brandon-rios-positive-test--72718
Luis Sandoval’s video interview with Ariza, who commented on the matter: https://www.boxingscene.com/video-ariza-discusses-brandon-rios-testing-positive--72722
Chris Robinson spoke to Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, who felt Ariza should not bear the brunt of the blame: https://www.boxingscene.com/schaefer-says-finger-not-point-alex-ariza--72746
Jake Donovan’s original report on the news regarding Rios: https://www.boxingscene.com/brandon-rios-takes-another-hit-with-failed-drug-test--72715
Ryan Maquiñana was the boxing producer for NBCOlympics.com during London 2012 and writes a boxing column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and Ring Magazine's Ratings Panel. E-mail him at [email protected], check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net or follow him on Twitter @RMaq28.