After a scheduled heavyweight world title bout between Alexander Povetkin and Deontay Wilder was cancelled due to Povetkin testing positive for Meldonium the parties turned to the judiciary.
ESPN reports that a jury in US Federal Court took just over 30 minutes to decide that Povetkin indeed ingested Meldonium after it became a banned substance exposing him to damages for the cancelled bout.
While doping often leads to regulatory and other administrative penalties, this civil lawsuit will serve as a valuable precedent and deterrent to others thinking of gaining advantage through illicit performance enhancing substances. ESPN’s Senior Writer Dan Rafael reports as follows:
Povetkin admitted that he used meldonium but said it was before it was banned. His argument was that whatever meldonium was in his system was left over from when he used it in August and September 2015, when it was still legal under WADA code.
But the jury accepted Wilder’s argument that Povetkin must have used meldonium after it was added to the banned list because he tested negative in random VADA doping tests conducted on April 7, April 8 and April 11 before an April 27 sample tested positive.
“We won the case, and this is an important precedent in cases of this nature when a fight is canceled for PED use,” DiBella told ESPN. “The other participant in the fight has gone through all the work. Deontay was ready to fight, and this got canceled right before the fight. This ruling is a further disincentive for any fighter to attempt to get an unfair advantage. Our attorneys, Judd Burstein and Peter Schalk, did a tremendous job because this is somewhat complicated and scientific.
“Basically, it’s a great thing about our justice system that where the facts are on your side and you’re telling the truth, you win.”
DiBella said he was confident the defamation case would soon be dropped.
“I also think it’s a good bet that I don’t have much to worry about with their defamation claim, which was based on my saying Povetkin is a cheater,” DiBella said. “The jury said he is a cheater. I think it’s very telling that the jury only deliberated for slightly longer than 30 minutes.”
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