Dillian Whyte’s UKAD situation is exposing the hypocrisy of drug testing in boxing!
WBC heavyweight mandatory Dillian Whyte’s failed July 17 drug test for Dianabol prior to his bout with Oscar Rivas has sparked a lot of controversy. As of this writing, his B-sample has yet to be tested, UKAD still hasn’t issued a final statement, and the WBC has announced Deontay Wilder won’t have to fight Whyte as a mandatory until 2021.
What hasn’t been discussed is the ramifications of these events. This particular situation illuminates the conflicts of interest between promoters, sanctioning bodies, and the drug testing agencies.
The controversy started when the BBBofC met with Whyte and his promoter Eddie Hearn regarding the failed test without informing Team Rivas. In this hearing, Whyte was cleared to fight, and Team Rivas wasn’t informed of the adverse findings until after the fight.
This is problematic on several different levels. First, it’s highly irregular for any testing agency to only inform one party of an adverse finding. Second, and even more puzzling, the BBBofC and UKAD have not provided an official finding or reason for Whyte being allowed to fight.
Then it gets even weirder. The WBC indefinitely suspends Whyte from their mandatory position. This is irregular because the WBC uses VADA as their testing agency of choice. It’s curious they would use UKAD’s test results. The UK heavyweight passed all of his VADA tests for the fight. So with the UKAD situation unresolved, a suspension would seem premature.
TROUBLE WITH VADA
Something that’s been overlooked is the procedures VADA uses. Most fans aren’t aware that the testing agency only puts fighters in touch with World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) approved laboratories, as well as provide counsel to athletes regarding PED free supplements.
VADA is currently regarded as the most reliable testing agency in boxing. However, the agency is not without its flaws.
First is the fact that VADA had a relationship with Victor Conte, who founded BALCO and was convicted of steroid distribution (he also markets supplements through his company SNAC). Second is that VADA isn’t recognized by WADA even though they use this agency’s approved laboratories. The reason is that they practice their own protocols. Furthermore, they have a different banned list from WADA.
Hearn pleads the case that a VADA approved laboratory found no irregularities. Therefore, because they are the WBC’s testing agency of choice, the sanctioning body shouldn’t be able to suspend Whyte.
Another mind-boggler is that neither Hearn nor Whyte have directly denied the presence of Dianabol in the fighter’s samples. They’ve also opted not to request his B-sample be tested. Hearn has acknowledged that if the B-sample were to be tested it, would most likely yield the same result.
The BBBofC and UKAD have a lot of explaining to do, and it exposes the need for an independent third party to handle all anti-doping procedures. With the number of third-party agencies involved with drug testing protocols, there’s an inconsistency that clouds the entire sport.
The best move would be to take the funding for drug testing out of the hands of promoters and fighters. The sanctioning bodies should collaborate to standardize testing for the sport. Without standardization, these situations will continue to happen.
By: Corey Cunningham