Francisco "Bandido" Vargas tested positive for the steroid clenbuterol during voluntary drug testing ahead of his June 4 WBC super featherweight title defense against Orlando Salido, but for now the fight is still on, and Golden Boy Promotions released a statement on the matter today:
"As part of a voluntary testing program that Francisco Vargas requested ahead of his June 4 fight, he tested positive for clenbuterol.
"Francisco believes he tested positive due to ingesting contaminated meat in Mexico where clenbuterol is commonly used by ranchers in livestock feed. The Associated Press reported this week that this practice may impact athletes throughout the country ahead of the 2016 Olympics.
"Francisco has, is and will always be a clean fighter. That is why he insisted on this voluntary testing program ahead of the first defense of his WBC championship.
"He previously tested clean as part of this same voluntary testing regiment and in all of his previous fights.
"He will immediately leave Mexico to finish his training camp in the US in order to avoid any possible repeat of this situation and is fully cooperating with the California State Athletic Commission to submit to all required testing ahead of his June 4 title defense."
While this story may sound like an easy way to cover up wrongdoing, it is a legitimate concern with Mexican athletes right now, especially the Olympians heading to Rio soon. From the AP report:
Mexico's national sports commission, Conade, said Wednesday that coaches are keeping a special watch on meat supplied to athletes ahead of the Rio de Janeiro Olympic games.
"We should be conscious and careful about the kind of meat that is selected" for athletes, said Conade director Alfredo Castillo. He said organic beef, chicken, fish and pork could be explored for somewhat safer alternatives.
The steroid, which boosts metabolism and burns fat, has caused problems for Mexican athletes before. In 2011, five national-team soccer players tested positive and were banned from play in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the championship of North and Central America and the Caribbean.
We'll have to see how this all shakes out going forward, but right now, the fight is still on, likely awaiting the return of the "B" sample. If that is positive, then who knows? You'd think it would cancel the fight, but Golden Boy pushed Erik Morales through something similar a few years back and the fight went ahead anyway.