Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director, Keith Kizer said he was told by the attorney of Lamont Peterson that the fighter tested positive for synthetic testosterone, a development which jeopardizes his May 19 rematch against Amir Khan that is slated for the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas.
Peterson had testosterone pellets surgically implanted, according to the attorney, Jeff Fried.
Peterson (30-1-1, 15 knockouts) and Khan (26-2, 18 KOs) contractually agreed to be randomly drug tested for blood and urine for their return bout by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) in advance of their HBO-televised clash.
In a letter to Kizer, VADA President and founder, Margaret Goodman, wrote that a “urine specimen…was collected on March 19,” and that its test results were “consistent with the administration of an anabolic steroid such as testosterone.”
Dr. Elliott Landar, of Rancho Mirage, Calif., is among the pioneers of the “pellet placement” procedure.
“I was one of the first guys to do pellets. Pellets are put in through a trocar procedure. You make a little puncture and you put these pellets in. You can call it injection, but we just call it pellet placement,” said Lander.
“The nice thing about the pellets is that they’re very convenient, and you get very high, steady, nice levels of testosterone that really don’t fluctuate very much. They’re the most expensive, but they’re also the most sought-after and desirable way of getting the replacement therapy.”
Kizer said that he was informed of the use of the pellets by Peterson’s Washington, D.C.-based attorney, Jeff Fried, who could not be reached for comment, and that the boxer had been using the testosterone when he took the belts from Khan by a split decision in December in Peterson’s native Washington, D.C.
“Jeff Fried said that it was testosterone pellets. What I understand that to be, although I’m not a doctor, is that it’s almost like a semi-solid that you kind of put underneath of your armpit, and then the heat of your body kind of allows it to soak into your glands. So that’s kind of what it is. It’s not something that he took orally. It’s called a pellet,” said Kizer, adding that no decision will be made on the status of Peterson-Khan II until after he receives the medical findings from Peterson’s camp on Tuesday.
“But it’s something that he put underneath of your armpit and you kind of hold it in there and throughout the day, it will slowly absorb into your skin and into your glands. He said that they used it for the first Khan fight, and I’ve been told by Jeff Fried that he hasn’t taken any more of it since the Khan fight in December. So that opens up a whole other question about whether the D.C. commission should overturn that decision. That would certainly be grounds here, if that first fight had been here.”
A statement on Monday made through Peterson’s publicist, Andre Johnson, on behalf of the boxer and his manager, Barry Hunter, evening acknowledging the positive test.
“We are working expeditiously with a team of pathologists and other medical specialists to confirm the origin of the test result and in full compliance with the rules of the Nevada State Athletic Commission,” the statement read, in part.
“Lamont has never had a positive test either before or after this isolated occurrence, and we plan to submit medical findings by close of business Tuesday reflecting the actual facts in support of Lamont’s good faith intentions and the requirements of the commission.”
Kizer told RingTV.com that he was informed of the positive test by Goodman, and that he, in turn, notified HBO, Schaefer, IBF and WBA officials and the Mandalay Bay Hotel of the situation.
During a conference on Tuesday, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, who handles Khan, expressed anger that neither he nor the Khan camp was informed of the developments until Monday.
“I was not informed…Why we were not informed until yesterday, and not even by VADA but by the commission, is a mystery to me. VADA informed the athlete, informed Lamont Peterson, of the adverse analytical finding on April the 13th. VADA got the results on the 12th, and informed Peterson of the 13th of April,” said Schaefer.
“They advised him of the right to have the B sample analyzed. The process of analyzing the B sample began at the laboratory on April 30th of 2012. Why it took from April 13 to the 30th to actually go and test the B sample is again a mystery to me. If I would have been informed about it, I certainly would have asked for an expedited testing.”
Goodman repsonded in an e-mail to RingTV.com.
“It is important for VADA to carry out its mission consistent with respect for the privacy of the athletes who are tested. VADA notified Lamont Peterson and his attorney, Jeff Fried, immediately after Mr. Peterson’s ‘A’ sample tested positive. VADA felt that it would be inappropriate for it to notify third parties of the positive test result at that time because there had been no confirmation of it,” stated Goodman.
“It appears as though Mr. Peterson and Mr. Fried also chose not to notify third parties at that time in the hope that Mr. Peterson’s ‘B’ sample would test negative. As soon as Mr. Peterson’s “B” sample tested positive, VADA notified Mr. Peterson, Mr. Fried, and the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Neither Golden Boy Promotions nor HBO was a signatory to the VADA contract.”
Schaefer said he is awaiting the news from Peterson’s camp regarding an explanation of the positive test.
“I discussed with Keith Kizer what is next. He informed me that Peterson’s attorneys and legal representation would be submitting paperwork this afternoon to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, explaining themselves, explaining why there was a substance and based on the paperwork and statements from Team Peterson, they will then present that to the commission and the chairman will then rule whether there will be a fight or not,” said Schaefer.
“I think maybe by tomorrow, or at latest the day after, we will know where we stand. For the time being, Amir Khan continues to train. He was in the gym yesterday and was running this morning. He is fully aware, and he is obviously disappointed but he is going to follow whatever that athletic commission of Nevada is going to rule.”
Kizer said that Peterson is not licensed in Nevada, a procedure that usually is solidified during the week of the fight.
“Most fighters get licencesed during fight week, and it’s done administratively,” said Kizer. “But unless and until this is satisfactorily resolved, Lamont Peterson won’t be getting a license. We don’t have his medical information yet. Jeff Fried will send us something today in regard to Lamont’s response. When I receive it, I will read it and we’ll see what it says. My guess if this doesn’t explain anything sufficiently, there will be no need to have a special hearing,” said Kizer, adding that the Nevada Commission does not convene formally again until May 21.
“Lamont Peterson does not have a license unless the commission gives him one, and unless there is some legitimacy to his defense — maybe there is, maybe there isn’t — at that time, if there is, then our chairman will have a special hearing for it. If not, then we won’t have a special hearing for it, and Mr. Khan will be fighting somebody else.”
Schaefer would not speculate on what he would do beyond Tuesday.
“My full focus is to work with the Nevada commission and get to the bottom of this and do what’s right. This demonstrates the importance of random drug testing and how important it is for our sport,” said Schaefer.
“This is not about hitting a baseball or running faster or jumping higher. this is toe-to-toe battle, where one’s life is at risk every time these young athletes enter the ring.”
Lander said that “most of the pellets being used in the United States are…a synthetic testosterone that is very easy to test for, and it shows up in any [person] as a synthetic testosterone because they look for synthetic testosterones.”
Other forms are harder to detect because “their testosterone is completely identical to what you make in your own body, chemically, in every way, and they can’t test for it. Unless your number is really, really high, higher than your body can naturally produce.”
A new operation, VADA debuted its testing with this past Saturday’s WBC junior middleweight title bout involving Saul Alvarez, who successfully defended his belt by a unanimous decision over former champ Sugar Shane Mosley.
VADA’s testing is stricter even those procedures of the World Anti-Doping Agency and United States Anti-Doping Agency, according to Victor Conte, former founder of BALCO.
“If USADA had been doing this testing instead of VADA doing this testing,” said Conte. “There would be no positive drug test.”
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]