VADA Releases Statement on Peterson's Failed Drug Test

Lamont Peterson and Amir Khan have had their May 19 fight canceled, but the story isn't done being told about Peterson's failed drug test. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)

The Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) has released an official statement that addresses questions from Golden Boy Promotions about the way they handled Lamont Peterson's failed drug test from March, and discusses the entire situation to date. Peterson discussed the situation with WJLA in Washington, DC, but here's the VADA statement, and I do suggest reading it. There's a lot to this story that has yet to really be told, as it seems is always the case in boxing.

VADA's mission is to help protect the health and safety of athletes who are willing to demonstrate their commitment to clean sport. As a voluntary organization, we depend on those who share our vision to help rid boxing and MMA of PEDs. VADA understands and shares the disappointment that is felt by Golden Boy Promotions, Amir Khan, the undercard fighters, HBO, and the thousands of fans who were looking forward to Khan-Peterson II. This unfortunate situation, however, serves to underscore the need for PED education and the high-caliber testing procedures that VADA offers.

VADA has respect for Richard Schaefer, GBP, and their commitment to clean sport. However, VADA disagrees with Mr. Schaefer's characterizations of the contractual relationship between GBP and VADA. The facts are as follows.

There was never a final or signed contract between GBP and VADA. When VADA became involved with the Peterson-Khan fight in March, the individual athletes signed up for the VADA program and executed the proper documentation.

VADA was told that GBP also wanted a contract so that GBP would be authorized to receive the testing results, including the preliminary results from an "A" sample analysis. It is important to understand that "A" sample results are only preliminary, do not legally stand up by themselves, and under commonly accepted anti-doping procedures are typically released only to the athlete.

In order for VADA to release the preliminary "A" sample results to a third party such as GBP, VADA requires an executed authorization allowing us to do so. VADA sent GBP a draft contract for its signature which would have authorized the preliminary "A" sample results to be released to GBP. This initial draft (which was never signed) contained a clause pursuant to which GBP would have represented that it had obtained the necessary authorization from the fighters. GBP's legal team rejected this clause and instead suggested making the fighters signatories to the contract with their signatures being the necessary authorization. VADA's counsel made it clear to GBP that, if GBP wanted to handle it this way, GBP must take responsibility for obtaining the athlete's signatures. Unfortunately, and to VADA's dismay, GBP never obtained the signatures.
Various versions of a draft contract were sent back and forth between GBP and VADA. The contract was never finalized. Richard Schaefer may, or may not, have been aware of this situation. The bottom line is that VADA had no contract with GBP. This is not a mere technicality. It involves issues of medical ethics. VADA needed a signed contract in order to deviate from its Results Management Policy (posted on our website) and release the preliminary and personal medical information to a third party. VADA still has never received a signed contract or signed athlete authorization from GBP.
 VADA would have been happy to inform GBP of the preliminary "A" results. But we needed a signed authorization allowing us to do so, which we never received.

It has also been asked why it took so long to test the "B" sample after the first positive test result. When VADA notified Mr. Peterson of the adverse finding on April 13, Mr. Peterson had one week to challenge the "A" test result and ask for the "B" sample to be tested. During that time, Mr. Peterson also had the opportunity to supplement his earlier written submissions to VADA with regard to drugs and other medications that he had used prior to the testing. Mr. Peterson's representatives waited eight days (until Saturday, April 21) to respond. At that time, they did not communicate any of the "exculpatory" material later offered to the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Instead, they chose to challenge the positive test result, asserted their right to be present when the "B" sample was tested, and asked that the "B" sample be tested on Friday, April 27th. The UCLA laboratory said that Friday was an inappropriate day to begin testing because four consecutive days are needed to complete the test. The sample "B" test began on Monday, April 30th.

VADA has complied in every way with all signed contracts that we had and will continue to do so. VADA welcomes the discussion about the dangers of PEDs to those who use them and to their opponents. We also reiterate our contention that it is imperative for the managers, promoters, and friends of these brave athletes to assist in the education about PEDs. VADA will help in every way we can. Our hope is that there will come a time when every test is negative.

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