Kevin Iole did an important piece detailing how the sport of baseball has a radically different structure in place to deal with things like the Biogenesis scandal than does boxing and MMA.
Earlier this week MLB commissioner Bud Selig suspended over a dozen baseball players, and Alex Rodriguez is appealing a suspension that could cost him $34,000,000.
By contrast, the one boxer named as a client of the anti-aging clinic, Yuriorkis Gamboa, faces nothing, and no one in a position of power is seeking information on the unnamed MMA fighters who were alleged to be clients of the clinic by ex-Biogenesis employee Porter Fischer.
If the names of the fighters who Fischer says were Biogenesis clients ever becomes public, the states where they currently hold licenses could demand that those athletes come to appear before the commission to explain their PED usage. In that scenario, the state commissions would have the ability to mete out punishment.
However, licenses are given for a calendar year and expire on Dec. 31.
So, a fighter whose name appears in the Biogenesis records would only have to answer to the states that he or she fought in this year. However, if a fighter applies for a license in a state, that would give the commission the authority to bring the applicant in for a hearing.
The only hammer the state would wield would be to deny a license. The rules prohibit a suspended fighter from attempting to be licensed in another state, but that does not apply to a fighter who was simply denied a license. A fighter who is denied a license by one commission has the right to go to any other state, or country, to seek licensure.
Boxer Antonio Margarito did that twice before he retired, and commissions in Texas and New York subsequently licensed him each time after he had been denied a license elsewhere.
Nick Lembo, the counsel for the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board, said options are limited for punishment.
"If someone's name comes up in a report and then they come to your jurisdiction, it's definitely going to be a consideration for licensing," Lembo said. "You wouldn't be able to punish them for past conduct, I would doubt, because the licensing period had experienced. Now, if they were under current licensure then you could review that and perhaps [take action], but if they were applying, I don't think there would be an ability to punish."
There has been much debate over the last few years about the need for a federal commission that would oversee combat sports.
Lembo suggested that in lieu of an actual federal commission, the government could come up with minimum standards that states are required to enforce. State-rights advocates, though, insists the federal government doesn't have the ability to tell states what to do.
But because of the rules are now, those fighters who cheated and took performance enhancing drugs at the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic are likely going to be able to walk free with no punishment.
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