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Andre Berto Failed Drug Test Likely Due to Contamination

Andre Berto's failed VADA test had minute traces of nandrolone that more likely indicate contamination than intent. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Andre Berto's failed VADA test had minute traces of nandrolone that more likely indicate contamination than intent. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Gabriel Montoya reports that further analysis of Andre Berto's failed VADA drug test reveals traces of nandrolone so low that it is almost surely a case of contamination, rather than a true attempt to cheat:

Sources have informed me that analysis of Berto's positive tests results for nandrosterone (a metabolic byproduct of nandrolone) revealed "ultra-trace amounts of Nandrolone in the low parts per trillion range and consistent with contamination not intent."

In other words, the amount in his system is so minute [very little] that it is highly unlikely that he intentionally ingested nandrolone but was rather contaminated by food or a supplement.

As Montoya says, this is good news for Berto and his team, but I'm personally not sure how good the news can really be at this point. A lot of folks are simply never going to believe he wasn't intending to cheat, that he wasn't really "juicing," or that this is a mistake which could happen to anyone.

To me, the biggest news of the Berto and Peterson drug testing scandals is that VADA works, even if both cases are kind of accidental and not so much a black-and-white case of catching the bad guys loading up. It's quite possible that Berto took a supplement by accident, not knowing what was in it. It seems almost probable that Peterson really did just get the testosterone pellet for a legitimate medical reason.

But the thing is, fighters who take this testing now must understand that you have to know what you're taking, what to disclose if you have a case like Peterson's, and frankly, most of them are probably going to want to work with someone who really knows what they're doing with this stuff. You can't expect fighters and trainers who don't know to suddenly become experts. They need to hire experts to do that job.

This idea isn't new to the sports world, but it really is new to most of these fighters, who are used to drug testing that simply does not cut the mustard in 2012.

Victor Ortiz's outspoken and always-colorful manager Rolando Arellano spoke to The Ring, and addressed something I think is very important: This testing needs to be embraced, not rejected with two major fights being lost. There is some fear -- maybe it's just me -- that promoters are going to see this as too big of a risk going forward.

"If you are reluctant to hire someone or something that's going to improve your sport and protect the safety of the fighter, then that's a problem. That's not what this is supposed to be about. The fighters are the essence of the sport. Without them, there's no managers, no promoters and no boxing content," said Arellano.

"So as a sport, we need to take care of the people who provide paychecks for all of us. If you're not looking out for the fighter, I mean, if that's the case, then that means that you're condoning potentially illegal substances for the purpose of the almighty dollar."

However you see this, whether you buy anyone's excuses/reasons or not in these two cases, the fact is that big-time boxing needs to permanently and universally adopt this level of drug testing. I'm very glad that the teams who have lost big fights (Ortiz and Khan) due to the VADA testing have spoken out in full support of the testing.

As for Ortiz, he's moving on and will face Josesito Lopez, still on June 23 at Staples Center in LA.

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