It's been more than two years since Joey Gilbert tested positive for a handful of banned substances, but the former star of NBC's "The Contender," isn't done trying to clear his name.
Gilbert will take his fight to the courtroom Dec. 18 in an effort to oppose Quest Diagnostic's motion to dismiss a lawsuit that Gilbert claims the independent testing laboratory ruined his boxing career and reputation in the community after they allegedly botched his test results.
"What's most important to me is that the Nevada community, especially the Northern Nevada
community and the kids that look up to me in the schools that I speak to, the most important thing for them to understand is that there was never methamphetamine in my system," Gilbert said. "I've never been around it, I've never seen it, I've never touched it, I've never tested positive for it.
"The second lab found not a single nanogram in there and Quest did nothing to fix that."
Gilbert tested positive for steroids, amphetamine, oxazepam, diazepam, nordiazepam and methamphetamine after his September 2007 fight against Charles Howe. A testing of Gilbert's B sample, this time done by an International Olympic Committee approved lab in Utah, found no traces of methamphetamine and only one metabolite of the steriod Stanazolol in his system, instead of the two found by Quest. The World Anti-Doping Agency, which sets thresholds for most major athletic organizations worldwide but not the Nevada Athletic Commission, allows for one metabolite without penalty.
Four of the six substances originally found were due to two prescription medications, Adderall and Valium.
After a 21-month suspension and a number of public squabbles between Gilbert and the NAC, the two sides negotiated to toss out the other substances and hold Gilbert responsible for the one metabolite.
But, according to Gilbert, the perception that he was a meth user destroyed his reputation as a fighter, attorney, entertainer and took away several lucrative business opportunities.
"My reputation as a fighter was destroyed, destroyed," said Gilbert, who recently opened a law firm in Reno. "My reputation as an attorney was destroyed. We're still rehabilitating ... let me tell you right now, the steroid wasn't anything compared to the meth.
"People don't understand I was someone who was multifaceted. I was commentating, I had movie deals in the works, I had TV stuff happening, I had endorsement opportunities, we had advertising opportunities, we had clothing stuff all lined up. All disappeared; all dried up to this day."
Gilbert, who was the third-ranked middleweight boxer in the world at the time of the positive test, was stripped of his North American Boxing Organization (NABO) and WBC-affiliated United States National Boxing Championship middleweight belts.
He returned to the ring February, losing in a 12-round decision to former friend and Yerington native Jesse Brinkley. He was also scheduled to fight Oct. 31, but withdrew because of illness.
The former three-time collegiate boxing champ is trying to recoup between $2-$4 million dollars in lost income, but said the more important outcome would be keeping another fighter from having to endure the same fate.
"There are two things I never would want any one to go through: failing the bar exam and this," Gilbert said.