Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller hasn’t fought since Nov. 2018, and doesn’t look like he’ll be fighting again in the near future.
The Brooklyn heavyweight, who turns 32 on July 15, was of course set to challenge Anthony Joshua for three heavyweight title belts in June 2019, but failed three drug tests for GW1516, HGH, and EPO, losing his spot in that fight and in the sport for a while.
After signing with Top Rank earlier this year, the charismatic big man was scheduled to return July 9 against Jerry Forrest. That is now off, as he once again failed a drug test for GW1516.
Counting a failed test in California during his kickboxing career, that’s three separate strikes for Miller in combat sports.
After the early reports of his failed tests in 2019, he had a co-promoter who went on the offensive for him in the press, blaming racism for the reaction to his failed tests, and he had various stories of his own over the months, which ranged from an early claim that he didn’t knowingly take anything (since-deleted), then to an also since-deleted apology for having “messed up” once more failed tests came in, to later claiming that a stem cell shot caused the positive test results.
We’re back to that stage of things with Miller again, and he sat down for an interview with Fight Network where he once again claimed he didn’t knowingly take anything, repeatedly stated that GW1516 is not a steroid — which is not really the issue, GW1516 is a banned substance, period — and mostly deflected for legal reasons (which is valid in any case like this), saying his team are working on it and that the facts will come out in this case, which is also what he said early during the “situation” in 2019.
“I know I messed up again with the world watching,” Miller said, not admitting to taking anything knowingly, but saying — without being specific — that something he took on his list of submitted supplements caused the failed test.
“I know it sounds crazy, but why in the hell would you think I would go back and do something repeatedly, knowingly, before I’m coming back in my return fight, after the financial setbacks and the hardship I’m dealing with in my life? I want the general public to think about that.”
He continued, “This item was listed [on information submitted to VADA]. It was listed through my lawyer. VADA does know about this product that was ingested. It was before the fight was even scheduled.”
Miller also said that there is a problem with “miscommunication with fighters and VADA,” but also said he had been in contact with VADA routinely and regularly.
Asked if he understands why fight fans will be angry, he responded, “Nobody can be more outraged than me. I’m the one that lost millions of dollars, I’m the one who’s had his career put on the line. But I have to think with a straight mind, I have to figure it out, sit down with my team, get everything in order and done the right way.”
There has even been talk of Miller (23-0-1, 20 KO) being banned for life from boxing, but boxing has no set protocol, no overall governing body for this sort of thing. There is no specific rule set for what happens in this situation. Frankly — and this goes for all combat sports — if you’re worth money, leniency tends to be shown, even if you wind up with suspensions.
Miller admits that he’s thought about the possibility of losing his career, but says that would be too harsh a penalty.
“It’s crossed my mind, but I should not be banned,” he said. “I’m prepared to accept my suspension, and I’m willing to do monthly testing through my suspension, but to be banned for life? No, you’re out of your mind. I did my due diligence.”
Miller’s future was looking relatively bright when he got that deal done earlier this year with Top Rank. Yes, he would be a villain, but you can make good money in boxing being a villain, and if you’re good enough, even admitting you used performance-enhancing drugs in the past can be forgiven by at least a good portion of fans and the media. It has happened before.
But once again, everything is murky for “Big Baby.” This might even be different if he failed another test, say, two years from now. But everyone’s most recent memory of Miller was failed tests, so failing right away ahead of a comeback, without even getting the fight in, is going to make things pretty tough.
Perhaps he’s right and his name, if not entirely cleared to everyone, will be cleaned up some when we have more information after an investigation process. Hey, I hope so, I’m not rooting for this guy or anyone to fail. But the optics are rough for him at this moment, and unless that information in his favor does come to light, it’s tough to see him getting another good opportunity any time soon.