Yesterday I posted a story on the Arkansas State Athletic Commission allowing an HIV-positive fighter to box, violating federal law. Since then there’s been more news on this whole fiasco of a card that took place on Nov. 11, and it’s pretty disgraceful all around. And I mean ALL AROUND.
According to a new report from ESPN, the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) claims the boxer was allowed to fight because the state athletic commission accepted falsified HIV test results provided by the individual — whose name has not been made public for medical privacy reasons.
The whole thing is pretty nefarious because it’s being reported the the fighter concocted a deliberate ploy to get around the suspension after testing positive for HIV in Florida, where he was schedule to fight in July. The matchmaker for that scheduled card in Florida had this to say about the positive test.
"I went ahead and retested him again to make sure that the test wasn't a false positive," the matchmaker said. "And the test came back positive the second time. The kid was in denial, and he had made a statement that he would fight in Arkansas because of their lax medical requirements. Because of the fighter's statement, I felt what he was going to attempt to do, with knowledge, [was] a criminal act. Therefore, I notified Frank Gentile with the Florida commission about the fighter's lab results.
"The kid has been taking medications since then, so it is plausible that if he got tested [in Arkansas] the result could come back negative due to him taking the medication, which suppresses the virus."
The fighter would indeed head to Arkansas to fight, but the Association of Boxing Commissions had warned Arkansas regulators beforehand about this individual. At that point the ADH requested test results from all fighters before allowing them to compete and according to Robert Brech, the general counsel for the ADH, they acquired bloodwork from all fighters on the card and they all tested negative for HIV.
But it turns out the commission didn’t test the fighters themselves, nor did any lab associated with them. They simply allowed each person to provide their own test results which allowed this fighter to submit results created from two different tests — an old negative test with a newer test date. A spokesperson for the ADH, Meg Mirivel, said the falsification was apparent upon further review.
That, however, still doesn’t excuse the local commission for licensing the man to fight because they are required by federal law to check everyone’s Fight Fax record, which would’ve indicated that this individual was suspended in Florida, stemming from his positive HIV test in that state.
And if all that isn’t enough of a clusterfuck for you, after posting the initial story I was contacted by fellow boxing writer and ATGRadio host Michael Doss, who just so happened to be in attendance for this entire card. I didn’t get a chance to have a long, in-depth conversation with him about it, but he essentially told me that he ended up at the show to help out a friend and wound up working the corner for three fights because he knew a bunch of the fighters on the card.
Doss would go on tell me that no one on that entire Nov. 11th card would get paid for their services and, as he so eloquently put it, the card “wasn’t even supposed to be a pro show according to the cracker jack commissioner they brought in.” Supposedly after the fights the commissioner said she was going to have all of the bouts reclassified as exhibitions as even they didn’t get paid.
There’s so much foolishness, depravity, and negligence in this story that it really becomes hard to wrap your head around all of it. But, then again, this is boxing. And boxing always finds a way to outdo itself in the pathetic department.