In an amended complaint the Nevada State Athletic Commission said it would no longer pursue its charges that Reno middleweight Joey Gilbert tested positive for methamphetamine in a recent pre-fight urinalysis, executive director Keith Kizer said Thursday.
The 31-year-old Gilbert, 16-1 with 12 knockouts, has been serving a temporary suspension since testing positive for six banned substances - including methamphetamine - retroactive to his first-round knockout of Charles Howe Sept. 21 at Reno Events Center.
"It was terribly devastating to be accused of using methamphetamine," Gilbert said in a written statement. "I can't imagine being accused of anything much worse. "The destruction this allegation caused in my life and career is beyond words. It has simply been a nightmare. I have denied knowingly using any illegal substances from day one, and at least in regards to this allegation people now know that I was telling the truth."
Gilbert was informed on Oct. 2 that he also tested positive for the steroid Stanozolol metabolite (formerly Winstrol), amphetamine, noriazepam, oxazepam and temazepam.
The initial positive test was conducted by Quest Diagnostics. Gilbert later tested negative for methamphetamine and positive for all of the other substances except Stanozolol in a retest conducted by the Center for Human Toxicology at the University of Utah.
The agency is currently testing a B sample of Gilbert's urine for Stanozolol.
In a Nov. 15 NSAC agenda hearing which was held in Reno, Gilbert was granted a motion for continuance, but one of his toxicologists - Dr. Robert Voy of Las Vegas - said that the boxer had once again tested positive for steroids in a private test conducted on Oct. 5.
Mark Schopper, Gilbert's attorney and former law partner, said Thursday that although he and his client were pleased that the commission had withdrawn its pursuit of the methamphetamine charge, Gilbert had been significantly harmed.
"Mr. Gilbert's reputation has been irreparably damaged by what appears to be the negligent release of false information, which unfortunately became a world-wide story," Schopper said in a written statement. " The positive test result for methamphetamine should have never been released, because a discrimination test was never performed on the findings to ascertain whether the test was positive for methamphetamine or for one of the other substances that can produce a false positive, such as over-the-counter cough medicine. In sum, this was an incomplete test result, i.e., defective."
Schopper also said that in addition to the urinalyses conducted before and after the September fight, a stimulant panel was conducted on Gilbert's urine sample, which he said came back negative for methamphetamine.
"Thus, the Commission had in its possession one defective test result and one negative test result for methamphetamine when the allegation of methamphetamine use was made public," Schopper said. "In fact, (Kizer) went so far as to state in the media that the only way someone can test positive for methamphetamine is by taking it - suggesting that Mr. Gilbert took methamphetamine.
"The problem with (Kizer's) argument is that it was based on a false premise, i.e., no complete test ever showed that Mr. Gilbert tested positive for methamphetamine. To the contrary, all of the complete tests came back negative."
Schopper also said that Gilbert had also submitted to a hair sample test and tested negative for methamphetamine.
Kizer defended the testing procedure performed by Quest and said there was no negligence, saying the information was a public record that he - as a non-expert - was merely passing on after told by Quest's experts that Gilbert had tested positive for six banned substances.
He also said Quest performed a "GS/MS test" on the sample at two different labs, one in Las Vegas, the other in San Diego, and they had two different thresholds, thus two different results - one positive, one negative.
The commission's threshold for a positive test for methamphetamine is 500 nanograms per liter. In the GS/MS test - which Kizer said looked for a "peak" - the threshold was 1,000 ng. Gilbert tested "in the 900s," Kizer said, thus testing positive for both stimulants on the first test and negative for both on the second.
"Because he tested negative doesn't mean anything," Kizer said, pointing out the different thresholds. "In fact, Gilbert's (other) toxicologist - Dr. (Raymond V.) Kelly - reviewed the positive sample - the A sample - and told Quest that he didn't find an error with this. Kelly found no problem with the test. In fact, Mr. Gilbert knew about it before we did.
"It's how it's been done with every athlete we've tested. It's the same procedure that has been recognized as an appropriate one."
Kizer also denied ever possessing the results of any other stimulant test, saying that he didn't find out the result of the panel until after the complaint had already been issued.
"We didn't know about it until after the November hearing," Kizer said. "And we still haven't received the Oct. 5 test or the hair test. I haven't got that. I don't think the attorney general would mind having that or the Oct. 5 test. One month later and we still don't have it."
Kizer did say the delay may have been caused because one of Gilbert's former attorneys, Jamie Cogburn of Henderson, withdrew Wednesday, when Schopper took over.
Asked about Schopper's claim that Gilbert's reputation had been irreparably damaged, Kizer was concise.
"I have no comment on that," he said before addressing Gilbert's remaining issues. "He still faces the same serious charges for five other drugs or substances. He'll have a full and fair hearing before the commission. The meth test came back in two weeks. We're now sitting at six weeks (waiting for the steroid test).
"(The Center for Human Toxicology) received the urine sample on Oct. 31. We're all at the mercy of the Utah lab. It's unfortunate for both parties. It's out of the control of both parties."