17th September 2015

USADA defends its action over Mayweather IV TUE

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) today issued an extraordinary 25-page rebuttal of allegations that it acted improperly in allowing boxer Floyd Mayweather to retrospectively apply for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for an intravenous (IV) drip ahead of his 2 May fight against Manny Pacquiao. May weather (pictured) used the IV drip in front of USADA doping control officers (DCOs), who had called at his house on 1 May. A paramedic was called due to Mayweather’s physical condition (It is understood that he was dehydrated), and the DCOs were told that he would need the IV drip. Partial urine samples were apparently provided before and after the IV drip was administered.

The two IV drips administered to Mayweather, which contained saline and vitamins, are not prohibited under the rules of the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC). However, it is understood that Mayweather’s two IV drips totaled 750ml. Section M2.2 of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Prohibited List of Substances and Methods bans ‘intravenous infusions and/or injections of more than 50 mL per 6 hour period except for those legitimately received in the course of hospital admissions, surgical procedures or clinical investigations’. As Mayweather was voluntarily being tested under the USADA programme, he then applied for a retroactive TUE for the IV drip, which he was granted on 21 May.

“Mr. Mayweather has done nothing wrong”, said Bob Bennet, Executive Director of the NSAC in a USADA statement. “The Nevada State Athletic Commission has no interest in any type of investigation regarding his IV. He did not violate the WADA Prohibited List for any type of drugs that are prohibited on that list, and we have no interest in it whatsoever.”

WADA confirmed that under the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code and the International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemptions (ISTUE), a retroactive TUE can be granted for an IV drip to combat dehydration. “For a case that would be monitored by WADA, yes the ISTUE could allow for intravenous infusions to be used in instances of dehydration”, a WADA spokesperson told the Sports Integrity Initiative. However, the spokesperson added: “This case is not one that is monitored by WADA because the World Boxing Council is not a signatory to the Code. We understand that USADA was contracted to conduct the anti-doping program for this fight, however.”

USADA’s 25-page rebuttal was directed at a 9 September article, entitled ‘Can Boxing Trust USADA?’. USADA said that the article contained ‘no less than 40 inaccurate facts and misleading statements, as well as quotes from un-named, un-informed or self-interested sources about USADA and our role in anti-doping in the sport of professional boxing’.

USADA said that it does conduct Carbon Isotope Ratio (CIR) testing ‘as part of our professional boxing testing programmes’, despite claims in the article that it doesn’t do this due to it being too expensive and unnecessary. ‘USADA maintains, however, that focussing only on CIR testing is not up to current scientific practices’, it clarified, adding that it uses the athlete biological passport (ABP) to monitor blood and urine profiles for fluctuations, which could lead to further targeted testing. However, it pointed out that CIR tests were performed on all 22 urine samples collected from Mayweather and Pacquiao ahead of their 2 May fight.

USADA also disputed claims that it had withheld the results of a 16 October 2012 positive test on Erik Morales from the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) in order to allow his fight against Danny Garcia on 20 October. It denied claiming that Morales’s clenbuterol positive could be a ‘false positive’, but said that it did discuss the possibility that the positive could have been caused by contaminated meat, following a question from Morales.

‘In professional boxing, USADA does not have the authority to prevent a fight from occurring’, read USADA’s statement. ‘That is a decision that must be made by the appropriate boxing commission, the promoters, and the athletes scheduled to participate in the boxing match. That is why the NYSAC was promptly informed of the A sample positive along with the promoter and both fighters.’

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