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Dr. Margaret Goodman speaks on Francisco Vargas’ PED situation

Fighters Network
Mexican Francisco Vargas (left) wars with Japanese Takashi Miura in the 2015 Fight of the Year. Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Mexican Francisco Vargas (left) wars with Japan’s Takashi Miura in the 2015 Fight of the Year. Photo by Naoki Fukuda


Francisco Vargas’ PED positive sent some ripples through the boxing community, with reaction ranging from more than mild surprise – as it seems Vargas pushed hard for stringent testing ahead of his June 4 bout with Orlando Salido – to sarcastic contempt. Many fight watchers view the explanation that the positive, supposedly a result of eating tainted meat, from the WBC junior lightweight titlist as being a convenient dodge.

A positive PED pop so far in advance of a scheduled scrap is ultra rare and, on the bright side, this shows the system is working. One would surmise that, with all the eyes on the situation, the likelihood that any participant would resort to a chemical shortcut is exceedingly small.

The Vargas-Salido tangle will take place in California, and run on HBO.

We touched base with Dr. Margaret Goodman of Nevada, the boss of VADA, the testing agency responsible for this pre-fight screening, which yielded Vargas in its net. Goodman offered some elements of clarity to the VADA role, in this situation, to RING.

“VADA has no role in what should happen with the Francisco Vargas bout or any bout, nor does VADA opine on whether sanctions are appropriate,” Dr. Goodman said. “VADA’s role is solely to ensure testing is carried out, according to the highest standards using WADA-accredited laboratories, certified collection officers and demonstrating transparency in releasing the results to the commission, the ABC (the Association of Boxing Commissions), the promoters and the athlete as soon as they are available.”

One angle I’m curious about: One would THINK that any clenbuterol found in cattle would be a fairly trace amount, right? Couldn’t the amount found in a sample indicate the viability of “tainted meat” explanation?

“According to the standards dictated by the WADA, any amount of clenbuterol is considered an adverse finding (positive test),” Goodman said.

“I don’t have the answer to that, and I see what you are asking, but there are few if any reliable human studies on oral ingestion of clenbuterol in athletes because it is prohibited at all times.”

The physician continued to explain what VADA does and does not do.

“It continues to be our policy that nobody can or should adjudicate drug testing results except the commissions. According to our policy, a fighter is removed from the VADA program once a doping violation is established (which often occurs when the B sample confirms the A sample). VADA is willing to continue testing for the CSAC until they make a determination of whether a doping violation has occurred. I should also note that a fighter can be reinstated into the VADA program, if the athlete has served a suspension or if a determination has been made that no doping violation occurred.”

Goodman said that in her mind, the Vargas positive is being handled well by the oversight officials in California.

“VADA salutes the California State Athletic Commission and Andy Foster and Dr. Paul Wallace in their openness and transparency in dealing with this situation and as it relates to PED testing of any fighter.

“One of the main reasons VADA was created was to assist commissions in determining to the best of their ability that fighters are training and entering the ring clean and to offer education for every fighter and their representatives regarding prohibited substances and supplements for every fighter. We continue to aggressively work towards those goals.”



Not to be outdone, Michael Woods also popped positive this week for Bomb Pops. And fried cheese. And funnel cakes.




July 2016

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