Add one more controversy to the list from last night. I missed it during the broadcast, but MiddleEasy has screen shots of King Mo and KJ Noons taking hits of oxygen from TRUO2 Portable Oxygen Cans before their fights started. MiddleEasy explains why this could be a problem.
For those of you wondering what the big deal is, the concept of breathing pure oxygen can help a free-diver double submersible time. It also helps climbers breathe at high altitude so that they can continue to ascend mountains at an normal pace, despite thin air. The entire concept behind the compressed-oxygen spray is to keep an athlete from tiring out, which would be OK, except when one person has this cardio-boosting puffer while his opponent doesn’t.
Furthermore, the portable oxygen cans do not appear on the list of approved supplies and substances a fighter’s corner can bring with them to the cage. It’s unclear if that means the cans are illegal or banned or if King Mo and KJ Noons were authorized to use them. Both are questions the Texas athletic commission needs to answer.
For what it’s worth, the World Anti-Doping Agency’s 2010 prohibited substance list (.pdf) says an athlete is prohibited from “artificially enhancing the uptake, transport or delivery of oxygen,” but later clarifies that “supplemental oxygen” is excluded (this was not specified in 2009). Assuming these canisters are considered “supplemental oxygen,” they would be allowed under WADA guidelines, but that doesn’t apply in this case since the athletic commissions don’t fall under WADA’s jurisdiction.
Gifs of King Mo and Noons inhaling the oxygen can be seen below (via BE). Considering neither fighter made any effort whatsoever to hide it from the cameras, I’m assuming they at least believe they weren’t doing anything wrong. We’ll have to wait and see what the Texas athletic commission says about it, but considering their lax drug testing policy and inability to put competent referees in the cage, I’m not expecting the questions to end with them.
“You know, I’ll tell you, the cans, the oxygen cans were brought to our attention actually this morning by one of our guys and I didn’t see any anything, but I heard that they [Noons and Lawal] were taking some oxygen. Like you say, canned oxygen. So, we’re going to look into it, but right now I just don’t have enough information so I don’t want to comment until I find out what it was. And from what I hear everything that they did was approved by the commission, so we’ll talk to them and have a conversation with them.”