Steroid Testing

“The current state of drug testing done by these state commissions is a joke. They don’t test for EPO. They don’t test for designer steroids. They test for a basic, simple menu that anybody with a heartbeat will escape. I just hate to hear that Shane Mosley did something really sophisticated to get around their testing. No, he didn’t. He would’ve been caught dead to rights in our program. But it doesn’t take a whole lot to sidestep the simple kind of drug testing that these state commissions are doing…Again, I hope it’s familiarity, I hope it’s knowledge, because part of the growth is for entities, but also athletes, to become knowledgable about these issues. If you’re a clean athlete, or you’re a sport organizer, promoter, state commission, whatever, if you want to protect clean athletes’ rights, you’re going to put in a clean program.”

—United States Anti-Doping Association’s chief executive Travis Tygart in an interview with, via Fight Opinion, claiming athletic commission drug testing is “a joke”

We hear all the time about how easy it is to beat the state-administered drug tests, but it hits a bit harder when the man in charge of the organization that handles the drug testing for Olympic athletes blasts the athletic commissions for it. Tygart argues that not only do they to include blood testing, but they also need to implement “effective” urine testing, something he says they’re not currently doing.

“Blood and urine but it’s got to be an effective urine program. Again, just a couple tests here and there that everyone knows about, or 72-hour notice that you’re going to be tested, or 48-hour notice — it has to be true, no-notice testing. And it has to be a broad menu of tests. And they don’t test for EPO. What was reported on Mosley is that he was using EPO. And he could use it without regard for being caught because they weren’t testing it — and there is a urine-based test for most EPO. So you’ve got to start with an effective urine program and an effective blood program. And the reason, to answer your specific question, that you need to do blood is because there are certain, and several, potent performance-enhancers that are not detected in the urine. Of those, human growth hormone being one; HBOC, which is synthetic hemoglobin; certain forms of EPO, like Micera; and then, the transfusions.”

If that’s the case, then why aren’t the commissions using an “effective” mix of blood and urine testing? Good question, and one that unfortunately we don’t have an answer to yet. I assumed it was money, and it may still be, but according to Tygart, that’s merely a “weak excuse.”

“There’s not much. Incremental cost. It’s certainly not cost-prohibitive and if you want to protect clean athletes, you’ll put it in place. Take half of one percent of what [Mayweather and Pacquiao] were going to generate, or make for themselves, and you’ve paid for a couple years of your program. I always hear that is a defense to not wanting it to be done, but it’s really not. It’s frankly a weak excuse not to protect clean athletes’ rights.”

The most shocking revelation in the interview didn’t come till the end. Do you know how much notice an athlete needs to cheat an impending urine test? 10 freakin’ minutes.