Conor Benn made it clear that he wasn’t completely happy with the WBC’s official ruling that cleared him of wrongdoing when he tested positive for banned substances. In particular the WBC cited a elevated level of egg consumption as a plausible reason Benn testing positive for a banned substance that scuttled a fight with Chris Eubank Jr, and now Benn releases his own statement to clarify his position once more.
“The WBC have declared me innocent of being a drugs cheat,” Benn wrote on Twitter. “I am grateful for the ultimate finding. It was the right decision and it was the only one I was willing to accept. The easy option would have been to accept a six month ban, save myself a huge legal bill and simply move on, but my reputation and my family name is worth more than that.
“My only frustration is that the manner in which I’ve been cleared has seemed to create further questions and add further fuel to baseless negative speculation. As such, having now had a chance to digest, I wanted to set out my position in full and explain in the simplest terms possible why I am innocent.
“As you will have gathered from my posts and comments over the past few months, I have always been extremely confident that I would be cleared. This is because all of the evidence and information that came to light during our investigation into how this happened proves what I already knew — that I am innocent.
“However, because of ongoing legal proceedings I have been repeatedly advised not to say anything. Keeping silent when I have this evidence in my possession and listening to ignorant uninformed commentary was one of the hardest parts of the process...I will not stay silent any longer, and have to let the facts be known.
“So here’s what I can say. In my defense to the WBC and the 170 page report provided to them, at no point did I indicate that I failed any VADA drug tests because of contaminated eggs. As part of its lengthy investigation, the WBC instructed its own experts to review my supplements and diet, and they concluded that egg contamination was the most likely cause. Those experts have seen this issue arise in elite athletes across other sports, and I have no reason to question their analysis when it concludes I am not a cheat.
“However, I feel like the WBC statement did a disservice to my defense which was based upon a comprehensive scientific review of the testing procedures, which set out a number of reasons why we believed the results were completely unreliable, and proved beyond any reasonable doubt that I am innocent.
“The report prepared by my science and legal team contained extensive analysis of both tests and concluded that there was clear evidence of fundamental flaws and irregularities. By way of just one example, my sample appears to have come back clear the first three times it was tested. Without explanation, it was retested again after 9 days and only then did it show a trace positive results.
“It should only have been tested once! These critical findings were endorsed by an independent expert scientist who provides accreditation to laboratories, and his opinion was that the many issues were so troubling and serious that the lab could lose its accreditation. My team will be referring the issues to the relevant accrediting body so it can make its own determination.
“For what it’s worth, and contract to the media speculation at the time, I requested the B samples be tested at the earliest opportunity. Because of the importance of trying to get to the bottom of what had happened I arranged for a scientist to fly across the world to attend the testing procedure in person (as you’re allowed to do under the rules) and unbelievably she was not even allowed to be in the room when the test results came through. How’s that for transparency?
“I have been advised that’s a major breach of an athlete’s right and had it been necessary to go to the court of arbitration for sport on this case to prove my innocence, that alone would have meant the test results were dismissed.
“Let me be absolutely clear though; my defense is not a technical defense to exploit a loophole. I am convinced the substance was never in my system and I certainly never knowingly ingested it. I am told it supposedly stays in the body for months, and yet barely a week after failing a VADA test, I passed a UKAD test.
“I have never previously failed any kind of anti-doping test , and passed multiple tests with both UKAD and VADA in close proximity to the two tests that returned the adverse findings. This adds further proof to my belief that the findings were testing errors. Even if it actually was in my system, it was at such a low level that it could never have had an effect, and could never have been consumed with the intention of having an effect.
“That is why Eubank Jr was willing to go ahead with the fight (having taken his own medical advice) as we supplied all of the relevant information to them known at the time (and indeed the Board) back in early October 2022.
“For now, I have to focus on rebuilding my career and as this has cost me a great deal of time and money, but at some point I want to make a stand on behalf of athletes who may find themselves in a similarly devastating position to me, but without the expertise or the resources to clear their name. Everything I have learnt during this process from talking to many experts gives me serious concerns about the whole testing system in the sport. Anti-doping protections are obviously extremely important, but so is ensuring people are given due process and presumed innocent until proven guilty.
“Cheaters should be caught and punished, but people like me who prove their innocence should be vindicated and allowed to continue their career.
“For those who gave me their unwavering support, I will be forever grateful. For those who said they would wait for a verdict before deciding I was guilty, I appreciate your patience. As for the BBBofC, they attacked me publicly and privately during the most difficult time in my life, treating me with utter contempt and without any consideration for fair process or my mental state. I am aware that many people will not even bother to read this statement in full, and continue to make their snap judgements without thinking. There is nothing I can do to change that, but I take comfort in what I know is true and have proven with evidence: I am innocent.
“I wouldn’t wish for my worst enemy to experience what me and my family have gone through, but next time I step in the ring I will be mentally tougher than I ever was before.”