Mayweather & Mir: In the Middle of a Dispute Between NSAC & USADA

There’s been much debate in the MMA world over the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs.

Some fans celebrate new standards in anti-doping protocol. They note the UFC’s 30% failure rate which marked their first serious attempts at out-of-competition testing last year. They’re glad to keep momentum with the new “anti-doping code” in the UFC, with stricter codes and harsher penalties.

Others don’t. Some remember the wild days of lax testing — like some fans recall the “steroid era” of Major League Baseball – with a sense of nostalgia. They’re not concerned with a disparity between fighters who are clean and aren’t. Some say no one’s really clean.

Still others don’t care at all – seeing it as a battle doomed to failure. (They’re probably not reading this though.)

What fans don’t always recognize is that the bodies which regulate the sport don’t always agree on these matters, either.

This week, disagreements came to light between the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), which sets the rules in the “Fight Capitol of the World,” and the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which is charged by many, including the UFC, with carrying out the PED testing standards. Two prominent fighters, boxing’s Floyd Mayweather Jr and MMA’s Frank Mir, appear to be caught in the middle.

First is the strange case of Mayweather, who is said to be fighting his last bout tomorrow night in Las Vegas and has been noted for bringing the issue of drug testing to attention in recent years.

According to reports, Mayweather was said to have taken an illegal IV prior to his May bout with Manny Pacquiao – only to have USADA allow it, and provide a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) weeks later.

Strange, indeed.

According to a Thomas Hauser of SB Nation, Mayweather took two intravenous solutions shortly after weigh-ins for the bout: first, a 250ml mixture of saline and multivitamins; and second, a 500ml mixture of saline and Vitamin C.  While neither substance is illegal, WADA rules do not allow intravenous infusions or injections of more than 50 milliliters per six hours — “except for those legitimately received in the course of hospital admissions, surgical procedures, or clinical investigations.”

Bob Bennett of the Nevada State Athletic Commission is quoted by Hauser:

“The TUE for Mayweather’s IV – and the IV was administered at Floyd’s house, not in a medical facility, and wasn’t brought to our attention at the time – was totally unacceptable. I’ve made it clear to Travis Tygart that this should not happen again. We have the sole authority to grant any and all TUEs in the state of Nevada. USADA is a drug-testing agency. USADA should not be granting waivers and exemptions. Not in this state. We are less than pleased that USADA acted the way it did.”

Hauser essentially makes the case that USADA is in Mayweather’s pocket – and that large amount of solution could conceivably be used to mask PED use.

Yesterday, LA Times reporter Lance Pugmire reported that another conflict took place between USADA and the NSAC, this time with UFC heavyweight Frank Mir in the middle.

Pugmire reported that Mir had applied and received a TUE from USADA for the use of Adderall prior to his most recent bout – a decision loss to Andrei Arlovski at UFC 191.

However, the NSAC overruled and disallowed the TUE.

Adderall contains a combination of amphetamine and methamphetamine, and is commonly used to treat hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It made headlines in recent years, as it reportedly gained in popularity in the National Football League and others.

Seattle Seahawk standout Richard Sherman, who was suspended and then cleared via appeal for use of the drug, was quoted as saying “half the league takes it.”

“It increases alertness, aggressiveness, attention and concentration,” former World Anti-Doping Agency agent Dr. Gary Wadler said in a 2012 interview with the Seattle Times. “It improves reaction time, especially when fatigued. Some think it enhances hand-eye coordination. Some believe it increases the mental aspects of performance… There’s no question it’s a performance enhancing drug.”

What side of the debate are you on, fans?

And are you sure these agencies are on the same side?