Today Thomas Hauser reports that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr recently refused to undergo a drug test requested by the Nevada Athletic Commission (“NAC”) for a bout against Danny Jacobs that was was slated for the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Hauser reports that the NAC contracted with the Voluntary Anti Doping Agency (“VADA”) who met Chavez at the gym and Chavez refused to provide a sample.
In response to this the NAC “placed Chavez on temporary suspension pending the result of a November 20 commission meeting“. Efforts are apparently underway to have the bout rescheduled in Arizona which is in itself problematic given the requirements of the Ali Act compelling competing US jurisdictions to respect each other’s boxing suspensions for various health and safety issues.
Leaving this aside one issue raised is that of the NAC’s jurisdiction. Eddie Hearn, the bout’s promoter, gives the following explanation for the refusal:
“”Chavez hadn’t signed for the fight, hadn’t signed up for VADA, and Nevada through VADA turned up to test him. And he said, ‘Well, I haven’t signed for the fight yet.’ So he didn’t test and they chose to not license him.”
If this argument is brought up as a defence Chavez can learn a valuable lesson from Wanderlei Silva who found himself in almost the exact same situation.
In May 2014 Silva refused to undergo an NAC out of competition drug test. He had an upcoming bout that was being promoted in Nevada but had not yet been licenced for the bout. Silva argued in these circumstances the commission has no testing authority and could not punish him for the refusal. The NAC disagreed and initially handed him a lifetime ban. Silva appealed and although the ban was overturned as being ‘arbitrary and capricious‘ the Nevada judiciary expressly ruled that the NAC is within their rights to request a drug test for a combatant who has a bout being promoted in Nevada even if the combatant is not yet licenced there. In finding the NAC is within their rights to test in these circumstances and to punish a refusal District Court Judge Kerry Earley provided the following reasons:
“the Court finds that the Commission properly exercised jurisdiction over the Petitioner. The Commission is vested with sole jurisdiction over and authority to direct, manage, and control contests and exhibitions of unarmed combat within the State of Nevada pursuant to NRS 467.070. This legislative grant of authority would be meaningless if the Commission could not also exercise direction, management, and control over the participants of said contests and exhibitions, without whom contests and exhibitions would not be possible. As such NRS 467.070 confers authority to the Commission over contestants, including unarmed combatants. The Court’s finding is supported by a comprehensive reading of the statutory scheme set forth in NRS Chapter 467.
Unarmed combatants shall submit to urinalysis or chemical tests at the direction of the Commission or its representatives. NAC 467.850(5). The Commission has authority to otherwise discipline any contestant who is guilty of an act or conduct that is detrimental to a contest or exhibition of unarmed combat, which includes foul or unsportsmanlike conduct in connection with a contest of exhibition of unarmed combat. NRS 467.110(e). While such discipline may take the form of a refusal to issue a license under NRS 467.110(2), it may also take the form of disciplinary action taken against a person for violations in relation to the preparation of a contest or an exhibition of an unarmed combatant as set forth in NRS 467.158(2)(a).
Petitioner, who as a contestant and unarmed combatant, failed to submit to required drug testing while in preparation of a contest and is, therefore, subject to discipline for this act which is detrimental to the contest. THe Commission’s authority to discipline Petitioner for his acts in violation of Chapter 467 is supported by the law and record.”