BoxingScene.com has obtained a copy of a letter dated November 11th, by Margaret Goodman, President of VADA [Voluntary Anti-Doping Association], in response to Arizona Commission head Francisco Meneses suggesting that VADA was "not impartial” when it came to handling the drug testing for former middleweight world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
A copy of the letter was also sent as a courtesy to the Nevada State Athletic Commission's executive director Bob Bennett.
Chavez Jr. is scheduled to face Daniel Jacobs in a super middleweight contest on December 20th at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. The bout will be carried by streaming service DAZN.
The contest was originally scheduled to take place in Las Vegas - but Chavez Jr. was temporarily suspended by the NSAC after his refusal to submit to a random drug test on October 24th, when an agent for VADA arrived at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, California. The agent for VADA was acting on behalf of the NSAC.
Due to the suspension, the event was eventually moved to Arizona.
As previously reported by BoxingScene.com's Jake Donovan, the NSAC unanimously voted to extend the temporary suspension placed on Chavez Jr. during its monthly commission agenda held Wednesday morning at state headquarters in Las Vegas
The Arizona Commission's legal team is now reviewing Nevada's ruling - and they will ultimately determine if Chavez Jr. will remain in the fight.
During his career, Chavez Jr. has twice been suspended by the NSAC for adverse findings in his drug tests.
GOODMAN'S LETTER TO MENESES
Dear Mr. Meneses,
We don’t know one another and it seems from your email that you know little about VADA and our board members who have more than 120 years of combined experience in combat sports health and safety.
My career in boxing began in 1994 when I assisted the Nevada State Athletic Commission as a consultant in neurology to determine boxers’ fitness to compete. I later became the first female ring physician in Nevada and eventually became chief ringside physician. I've worked more than 500 bouts and examined thousands of fighters. In 2001, I was appointed by Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn as chair of the state’s medical advisory board. I have served as chairman of the Association of Boxing Commissions' Medical Advisory Board and, in that capacity, worked with North American commissions in improving safety for all fighters. I know the experience of removing life support from a brain-dead fighter who would not recover from his ring injuries.
I tell you all this because it was central to why I founded VADA in 2011. Performance-enhancing drug use is rampant in combat sports, and few commissions are dealing effectively with the problem. This has led to unfair fights and contributed to chronic and acute brain injury. VADA’s purpose is to promote and enable fighters to demonstrate their commitment to clean sport. We have performed several thousand tests worldwide. I have worked hand-in-hand with more than twenty North American athletic commissions and others throughout Europe. Until Mr. Chavez Jr. did so on October 24, 2019, VADA has never had a fighter flat-out refuse to take a drug test. This is of particular concern given Mr. Chavez's history of adverse drug test results.
My greatest disappointment in combat sports is the lack of uniformity in medical licensure requirements, suspensions and yes, drug testing. Ultimately this problem would be best solved by a national commission. However, the lack of federal oversight should not give license for a commission to ignore the decisions of other commissions.
The most important responsibility of a state athletic commission is to protect the health and safety of fighters. This goal is achieved in part by honoring regulatory decisions handed down by other jurisdictions. While I have not been privy to Arizona’s decision-making process in permitting Mr. Chavez to compete without his issues with the Nevada State Athletic Commission resolved, I am aware that the California State Athletic Commission declined to authorize the bout in question until Nevada lifts their suspension.
We believe that it's disrespectful to the Nevada State Athletic Commission and potentially dangerous to the health and safety of the fighters involved for another jurisdiction to proceed with a fight under the present circumstances. That is why VADA questioned the propriety of participating in the drug testing for such a fight, leading to your November 8th email.
Your email’s suggestion that VADA is not “impartial” is unfortunate and false. VADA is a non-profit organization. None of our officers or board members are currently paid. We have always worked in a manner that respects the disciplinary proceedings undertaken by state athletic commissions in the interest of clean sport. This impartiality has enabled VADA to grow and become the most respected anti-doping organization in combat sports. For you to suggest otherwise is both untrue and insulting.
You should be aware that Mr. Chavez is enrolled in the World Boxing Council Clean Boxing Program (WBC CBP). Through the CBP, he is subject to VADA testing apart from any authorization that the Arizona Department of Gaming or any other state athletic commission might choose to confer upon VADA.
Margaret Goodman, MD
President, Voluntary Anti-Doping Association