Is Victor Ortiz actually worried about Andre Berto using performance-enhancing drugs because of Berto's relationship with Victor Conte? (Photo by Daniel Barry/Getty Images)
In the world of drug testing, a new player is starting to emerge. The Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) is a new agency headed by former ringside physician Margret Goodman. According to Lem Satterfield of The Ring, this agency will be following the same procedures and testing techniques as the USADA. The Andre Berto and Victor Ortiz will be the first fight for this new group and they apparently have the blessing of Lou DiBella.
"There's an initiative being done by [former Nevada State Athletic Commission ringside physicians] Margaret Goodman and Flip Homansky and some others that made this more affordable and done in the same exact way, so we're exploring that. And assuming that it's what we believe that it is, we'll being doing it with that group because it's affordable, and it also makes a statement to future meaningful fights that it's now affordable and can be done in a cost-effective manner and there's really no economic impediment to doing it."
It seems that the economic reasons were a big hurdle, at least according to DiBella. I have no idea what each of these tests would cost, but it seems that for a couple of blood and urine tests the cost shouldn't be too high. Apparently the costs are quite high (again no dollar amounts used) if you want to do drug testing through the USADA. The VADA is giving fighters and promoters a low-cost high-quality alternative to the official channel, which can only be seen as a good thing if they can deliver on their promises.
Now those who have followed the drug testing in boxing relatively closely know that this is not Olympic Drug Testing. The subtle difference between what has been dubbed "Floyd-style" testing and Olympic testing is that Olympic testing takes place over an entire year whereas the "Floyd-style" testing only occurs slightly before and after the fight. Obviously, this style of testing is not perfect, but it is certainly a giant step in the right direction.
Drug testing is a bit of an issue in this fight because of Berto's relationship with the former head of BALCO Victor Conte. After the first Ortiz-Berto fight, Berto had to be hospitalized with dehydration and complained of fatigue during the fight. This led to Berto seeking out Conte for strength and conditioning. It seems that the relationship helped in the Berto's preparation for the Jan Zaveck fight, where Zaveck retired after 5 rounds. Ortiz's camp is wary of someone like Conte, and they really want to make sure that he isn't giving Berto performance-enhancing drugs. Truth be told, Conte is good enough at what he does that if he wanted to give Berto drugs, he would find a way to get around the drug tests. Also this is a slightly ironic twist of events since it was Berto who accused Ortiz of taking something after their first fight. Why is boxing always so overdramatic?