Archive for the ‘Drugs in Sport’ Category

UFC Muscles-Up on Drug Testing

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The UFC is set to introduce harsh new drug-testing policies and punishments. UFC president Dana White and Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta fronted the media today to announce the franchise’s response to the ongoing problem amongst its fighters.

Effective from the 1st of July all UFC fighters – currently 585 – will be subject to random performance-enhancing drug testing and greatly increased sentences.

Individual commissions still have the right to hand down their own penalties for athletes found to have broken the law. But the UFC is asking them to make those penalties much more severe. Suspensions of as much as four years have been suggested to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the United states Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). In many cases, such a suspension would mean the end of that fighter’s career.

“We certainly advocate for (a two-year ban),” said Fertitta. “We are committed to it in every way. There should be no mistake there. This is a call-out to all of the athletes on our roster: You’ll be tested in competition, you’ll be tested out of competition, and if you’re using, you will be caught. And there will be significant penalties that go along with that.”

Dana white said, “Fighters are going to look at risk versus reward. If I (as a fighter) can make a couple of million dollars, I’ll take the risk.” Current penalties might be  suspension six or nine months and a fine in the tens of thousands of dollars.

“But two or four years (suspension) could be career threatening. Now you look at the risk versus reward it’s a lot more dangerous.”

When asked about the impact such drastic penalties will have on the sport fertitta was philosophical, “If we lose main events, we lose main events Matchmakers) Joe Silva and Sean Shelby are going to have to get a little more creative.”

Henderson Fights 4 Rounds with Toothpick in Mouth!

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 UFC dynamo Brazilian Benson Henderson isn’t satisfied fighting the most dangerous martial artists in the world. He has to do it with a tooth pick in his mount. On Sunday Henderson fought for 19 minutes against the much larger and very dangerous Brandon Thatch with a toothpick lodged somewhere in his mouth.

And he’s done it before!

“I normally do (fight with a toothpick in my mouth), yeah. I have it in practices, when I spar, and when I fight. It’s a bad habit, but whatever … I’ve gotten away with it so far,” said Henderson.

Henderson stepped into the Octagon to face Thatch with just two weeks’ notice. Despite his recent victory over Donald ‘Cowboy Cerone, in Boston, and the huge size and strength disparity between himself and Thatch, Henderson acquitted himself well.

Thatch landed some solid punches to Henderson’s head and body and scored several takedowns in the first three rounds. But these, it seemed only served to anger Henderson who was aggressive and brutal when the opportunities presented themselves.

Henderson fought hard for a takedown in the third. When he got his larger opponent to the canvas he struggled for back control before switching to a rear naked choke.

Thatch was able to wriggle out of them both.

In the fourth, Henderson finished off a punishing striking combination with a slick double-leg takedown. He manoeuvred for a rear naked choke by pulling Thatch backwards on top of him and managed to slide his arm beneath his opponents chin and onto his windpipe.

Thatch was forced to tap-out.

Henderson is a major threat in the welterweight division. He has asked to fight Rory MacDonald, the number one challenger at 170 pounds. MacDonald was due to fight Australian Hector Lombard at UFC 186; but Lombard was dropped when he returned a positive drug test.

Lance Armstrong Loses Court Battle Worth Millions

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Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has been ordered to repay $10 million for what a judge called an ‘unparalleled pageant of international perjury, fraud and conspiracy’.

Lance Armstrong, and the since dissolved team management company Tailwind, were said to have received $12 million in bonuses from promotions company SCA Promotions. These bonuses were paid to Armstrong during the time he and his team, US Postal, won seven Tours de France. It was argued that since the victories have been stripped, due to cheating, the bonuses should be returned.

SCA Promotions confirmed the arbitration ruling with the Texas’ 116th Civil District Court in Dallas, on February 4.

SCA Promotions originally objected to paying Armstrong the bonuses in 2005. They alleged at the time that Armstrong was using performance enhancing drugs. Armstrong sued SCA Promotions and won. The promotions business was forced to pay Armstrong $7 million in 2006. However, the evidence produced by SCA at the 2005 trial formed the foundation of evidence later used against him.

Once Armstrong was exposed by a US report for cheating, and he publicly confessed to his guilt with TV talk show hostess Oprah Winfrey, SCA Promotions moved to recoup its losses.

Armstrong’s lawyers argued the original settlement could not be overturned by state law.

The case was sent back to the original panel of arbiters. These were: independent chairman Richard Faulkner, SCA selection Richard Chernick and Armstrong selection Ted Lyon.

The ruling found in favour of SCA Promotions 2-1. The $10 million fine, they said, was a penalty imposed on Armstrong for lying and intimidating/coercing witnesses in previous cases.

The majority issued this statement: “Perjury must never be profitable. Tailwind sports corp. and Lance Armstrong have justly earned wide public condemnation. That is an inadequate deterrent. Deception demands real, meaningful sanctions.

The one dissenter in the three-man arbitration committee wrote that he believed the the panel was not deceived in when awarding the original settlement. “There is no Texas case or statute that allows for this type of sanctions motion nine years after the award was given.”

Lyon also wrote that the 2005 arbitration panel discovered SCA Promotions to have engaged in selling insurance in Texas without a license. This could have exposed them to more than $22 million in damages under Armstrong’s original claims.

“No party in this case came here with clean hands,” he wrote. “The final decision by the panel reminds me about the ‘do right rule’. It doesn’t matter what the law is, let’s just do what is right. Arbitrators, like judges, don’t have that luxury, and the Panel exceeded its authority by indulging itself here.”

Bob Hamman, president and founder of SCA said, “We are very pleased with this result. It’s hard to describe how much harm Lance Armstrong’s web of lies caused SCA, but this is a good first start toward repairing that damage.”

Armstrong’s lawyer did not comment.

Hector Lombard Test Positive for PEDs

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In what must come as no surprise to anyone that the hulking Hector Lombard has tested positive to illegal performance enhancing drugs.

Lombard, a 37 year-old Cuban-born Australian fighter, returned a positive result for desoxymethyltestosterone in a routine drug test after his win over Josh Burkman at UFC 182.

The UFC now faces a real problem with Lombard being the third fighter in recent weeks failing state sanctioned drug tests.

Lombard out-muscled Burkman winning a unanimous three round decision on January 3. The win moved his welterweight record to 3-0. Now he faces a suspension, fines and having his win against Burkman reversed.

“As a result of his positive test, Lombard has been informed that he has violated the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy and Promotional Agreement with Zuffa, LLC.

“The UFC will cooperate with the commission on the matter and fully supports Lombard’s right to a due process hearing before the commission.”

Lombard’s match-up with Rory MacDonald on April 25th has been cancelled.

Women’s MMA champion Ronda Rousey took to Yahoo Sports to vent her frustration over what is fast becoming an epidemic in the UFC.

“I was heartbroken to hear (of Silva’s positive test).

“People need to realise that it (PEDs) are a weapon, and by bringing that weapon into the cage they’re making our sport unsafe.

“The day a person dies in the Octagon, and the person who killed them tests positive for performance enhancing drugs, we’re going to have our first homicide case. It’s going to destroy the whole sport.”

Anderson Silva Passes Second Drug Test – Still Faces Judiciary

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MMA great Anderson ‘the Spider’ Silva has declared he is innocent of the charges relating to a positive drug test. Silva, who has an impeccable 18 year drug testing record, claims the positive results for Drostanolone and Androstane could only have come from a mistake at the lab.

Silva has been outspoken in his opposition to the use of performance enhancing drugs. His personal physician Dr. Marcio Tannure (also a medical director of the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission) said on Brazilian radio the former middleweight champion is innocent.

“Anderson told me he’s disappointed, upset because he didn’t use steroid,” said Tannure to Band News Radio.

“He will ask for the confirmation test because he believes the only explanation is a contamination or a mistake from the last. He told me: ‘I have an impeccable career history and I wouldn’t want to tarnish my image’.”

The test was administered on January 9 in the lead up to Silva’s long awaited fight against Nick Diaz (UFC 183). The January 31st fight took place and the results returned on February 3rd.

Silva has the right to ask for a confirmation of the original test. However, the laboratory that conducted the original test – the Sports Medicine Research and testing Laboratory – is a World Anti-Doping agency accredited lab, so mistakes would be highly unlikely.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission next meets on February 17. It is likely they will suspend Silva pending a full hearing.

Silva also has the right to appeal any sentence handed own against him by the commission.

In recent news, Anderson Silva passed his second out of competition drug tet. The test was administerd on the 19th of January, roughly two weeks prior to  his fight with Nick diaz. This negative result may aid him in dismissing the original positive test when he fronts the judiciary later this month.

Footy Show Fight Night Gives Boxing a Black-Eye

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In a ridiculous night of mismatches Sonny Bill Williams emerged victorious against a grossly obese Chauncy Welliver. Known more for his ability to take rather than deliver punches Welliver never looked a chance. His body wobbled seismically with each blow, he finished the second round conceding Williams was ‘too strong’, and he never landed a significant strike against his opponent.

At 137 kg Welliver was having his first fight in two years. He was clearly underprepared and was gasping before the end of the first round.

But he did his best to put on a show – He laughed at Williams’ shots and clinched when he could, leaning his full bulk on his opponent. That he could take the best punches Williams threw at him might be cause for concern should Williams ever consider fighting a real opponent.

In fact, the script was followed by all the fighters at the Footy Show Fight Night with all the footballers winning against vastly less experienced and prepared fighters.

Like Williams, Gallen was unable to put away his opponent, despite ridiculous advantages in conditioning and training. His mixed martial arts opponent looked uncomfortable being restricted only to boxing. Nevertheless he used his height and reach intelligently.

Several times Gallen rushed in, swinging for Queen and Country, only to be jabbed away – his punches windmilling through empty air.

The glorious victories of both fighters opens the door for a possible match-up between them. Such an event, should it happen, will most likely be held after the NRL season.

Footy Show Fight Night Debacle

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Regardless of the outrageous mismatch All Blacks superstar Liam Messam says he is ‘shaking’ ahead of tomorrow his boxing debut tomorrow night.

For his first professional fight the New Zealand giant is facing Rhys Sullivan, a man who has been knocked out in all three of his previous fights.

To say the fight card is mismatched in tomorrow night’s inaugural Footy Show Fight Night is an understatement. There would be more competition in just shooting the non-footballers on the card.

But Messam went through the usual media hype to spruik the match and I suppose I’m duty bound to report it: “When we (he and Sonny Bill Williams) were driving here I saw ANZ stadium across the road and I thought, ‘I could easily go out there and play in front of a full stadium in a Bledisloe Cup game’.  I walk in here, I’m shaking, the nerves are going.”

Messam says he has watched boxing all his life. He has trained since he was a teenager, but only started boxing as an amateur after becoming friends with Sonny Bill Williams at the Chiefs Super.

“It (boxing) has helped me all my career. When I moved up to the Chiefs I was doing a lot of boxing in the off-season. I just never had the gonads to jump in the ring and turn it into a fight,” said Messam.

“I’m lucky enough to have had three fights now (Fight for Life charity events). It definitely helps the fitness side of things and the mental side of things – You’ve got to be pretty mentally tough to be boxing.

“You’ve also got to keep your cool in the ring, and that helps in footy. When you get into pressure situations in a big game, you know you can really dig deep and just do your job when it matters most.”

He’ll have no trouble doing his job tomorrow.

SBW to Fight Gal?

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Channel Nine boss David Gyngell has spoken openly about his wish to broadcast a boxing superfight between dual international Sonny Bill Williams and NSW Origin captain Paul Gallen.

This weekend Williams and Gallen fight carefully picked opponents in the inaugural Footy Show Fight Night at All Phones Arena. Channel Nine will be broadcasting the event live on GEM and using its results to determine the future of free-to-air boxing.

“I’m obviously a huge fan of Sonny personally and also professionally,” said Gyngell to reporters. “He’s a magnificent athlete disciplined and dedicated to rugby league, union, and boxing.

“I grew up following boxing as a sport and we genuinely believe that done right, there’s huge scope for it to appear on free-to-air television.

“We’ve got some sponsors involved for this fight and we’re dipping our toe in the water to test the market. Obviously in the bigger picture the fight everyone is talking about and would love to see is Sonny Bill up against Gal.

“There’s guaranteed to be huge interest in New Zealand given sonny is a current All black. And then n Australia, Gal would also have all of NSW wanting to watch.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to show people there’s a way to broadcast boxing on free-to-air and there’s a genuine interest in the sport.

“I’ve been lucky enough to watch Jeff Fenech fight all over the world and I’m excited about the prospect of Channel Nine becoming more involved in the sport.”

Gyngell has thrown his weight into establishing and covering the Footy Show Fight Night. He has Erin Nolan hosting the event, and commentary from Jeff Fenech, Danny Green and Anthony Mundine throughout the evening.

Armstrong Says He Would Do It Again

Lance Armstrong. Image: en.wikipedia.org

In an open and frank interview with the BBC, the first since his TV confession to Oprah Winfrey two years ago, Lance Armstrong has said he would dope again.

The 43 year-old Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tours de France victories in 2012 when the United States Anti-Doping Agency judged him guilty of using Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs). The judgement came after years of strenuous denials. Armstrong had even taken some accusers to court alleging they had besmirched his reputation.

But Armstrong is prosaic about the circumstances leading to his downfall.

“If I was racing in 2015, no, I wouldn’t do it (dope) again; because I don’t think you have to,” he told the BBC.

“If ou take me back to 1995, when doping was completely pervasive, I would probably do it again.”

Armstrong justified his comments by alleging such drug-fueled super-human performances are good for the sport.

“When I made the decision, when my team made that decision, when the whole peloton made that decision, it was a bad decision and an imperfect time.

“But it happened. And I know what happened because of that. I know what happened to the sport – I saw its growth.”

And who can doubt him?

The Tour de France attracted more interest, more viewers, and more sponsorship with each of Armstrong’s victories. During the all-important mountain stages the TDF website was hosting a million hits a second. When racing was close there were never less than five helicopters above the lead pack beaming live images all around the world.

And the monetary spin-off, to sponsors, the Tour de France organisation, and cycling in general was astronomical.

Armstrong cites the astounding growth in bike sales, especially those of his supplier Trek Bicycles, as proof of how the sport and sponsors benefited.

He also, somewhat modestly, adds charity research foundations with whom he was in contact raised over half a billion dollars.

And while he has been fined millions for ‘’misleading’ the public, those who benefited from his performances have been allowed to keep every cent.

Armstrong took aim at being stripped of his titles, “I think there has to be a winner, I’m just saying that as a fan,” he continued.

“There’s a huge block in World War One with no winners. And there’s another block in World War Two. And then (referring to the seven vacant years where he won) it seems like there’s another world war.

“I don’t think history is stupid, history rectifies a lot of things. I f you ask me what happens in 50 years, I don’t think it sits empty … I feel like I won those Tours.”

And again, who can argue? It’s not like Armstrong sat on the couch eleven months of the year taking drugs and then rode his bike around France to win. His training was brutal and continual.

The Tour de France has a long and well documented history of athletes taking prohibited substances to improve their performances. Lance Armstrong was a drug cheat, but he won his seven tours against other drug cheats.

Allenby Saga Takes Another Turn

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The story of pro golfer Robert Allenby’s abduction and robbery has been contradicted by yet another witness.

Chris Khamis, 47, a homeless man in the area where Allenby alleges he was bashed and robbed, has come forward. He alleges that Allenby hurt himself by falling over and hitting his face on a rock.

He told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser he was with Allenby shortly before the golfer injured himself. Allenby seemed depressed with his result in the Sony Open earlier that day. Khmais also said Allenby believed he had been drugged while at a strip club he’d recently been to.

When asked about the actual incident involving Allenby hurting himself Khamis is honest: “There was not crime (when I was present). It was his stupidity.

“He (Allenby) passed out and hit his head. I was there. Nobody pushed him out of a car.”

Khamis’ testimony echoes that of another man, Toa Kaili, who told the Herald Sun that Allenby was “beyond tipsy”.

Kaili said he had been with the golfer on several occasions during the evening, only at their last meeting did Allenby have a “busted up” face.

On the previous occasion, said Kaili, Allenby was passed out on the footpath. He says it took him 10 minutes to revive him and another 8 minutes to get him to his feet.

“He was beyond tipsy,” said Kaili, “he was blitzed.”

“He (Allenby) then started saying, ‘Where’s the other guy? You gave him the keys: to get the keys.’”

Kaili then claims Allenby turned on him and his friend, accusing them of robbing him.

Angry at being treated this way Mr Kaili says he then left, leaving him with his friend Chris Khamis.

When he returned 30 minutes later Allenby was wiping blood off his face.

“What the hell happened?” he asked his friend.

Mr Khamis responded, “I tried to hail him a cab. He was rocking back and forth, nodded off and face-planted into this damn jagged rock.”

Honolulu police are still treating the case as “a second-degree robbery and fraudulent use of credit card.”

However, there has been no indication the police are investigating Allenby’s allegation of kidnapping.