Gilbert temporary suspension upheld
Appeal Sports Writer
The Nevada State Athletic Commission, during an agenda meeting Tuesday in the Grant Sawyer Building of the Legislature Council Bureau in Las Vegas, affirmed the temporary suspension of Reno middleweight Joey Gilbert.
Four of the five commission members voted in the meeting, with commission member Joe Brown recusing himself. He will leave the commission on Oct. 31. Reno’s Pat Lunvall and Bill Brady will join the commission beginning Nov. 1.
The 31-year-old Gilbert, 16-1 with 12 knockouts, tested positive for six banned substances in his urinalysis tests conducted before and after his first-round technical knockout of Charles Howe at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno on Sept. 21.
Sandy Johnson, administrative assistant for the commission, said Tuesday the temporary suspension would remain affirmed until Gilbert has a formal disciplinary hearing.
Johnson said Gilbert did not attend the meeting, nor was he required to do so. She said Reno-based attorney Michael Alonso, of the Jones-Vargas law firm, represented Gilbert.
According to Johnson, Alonso said that he wouldn’t be prepared to go forth in the commission’s next meeting on Oct. 24, having retained Gilbert as a client on Oct. 12.
The Nevada Appeal was unsuccessful in reaching Alsonso for comment.
Johnson said Gilbert’s formal administrative hearing would likely happen in mid-November, before Thanksgiving.
Gilbert tested positive for Stanozolol metabolite (a steroid formerly known as Winstrol), the street drug methamphetamine, Addarall, noriazepam, oxazepam and temazepam.
Gilbert had also tested positive for Addarall, noriazepam, oxazepam and temazepam following his 10th round TKO over Juan Astorga May 12 at Reno Events Center.
Gilbert avoided a commission hearing and suspension after his first positive test, but was warned in a letter by NSAC chairman Dr. Tony Alamo that he would not be medically cleared to compete if he ingested the Adderall or any other amphetamines before or during any future fights.
Gilbert responded to the letter with one of his own, promising to never make that mistake again, but prior to fighting Howe, he signed a document stating he had been taking Adderall, Valium, Soma and Xanax in the month leading up to the fight.
He did not admit to taking steroids or methamphetamine.
Keith Kizer, executive director of the NSAC, said since Gilbert never faced a formal hearing the first time, his second positive test would not be considered a second offense.
Among other penalties, Gilbert’s victory over Howe could be declared a no contest, he could be fined up to his entire purse of $25,000 and be suspended indefinitely. Kizer said the likely suspension would be nine months, retroactive to Sept. 21.
In an Oct. 2 release to the Associated Press, Gilbert’s spokeswoman Julia Peaua said that, among other things, Gilbert would provide a voluntary sample to the commission “within 24 hours.”
Kizer said last week that the NSAC had not received any samples from Gilbert, but he said that he had received a phone call from chief inspector and University of Nevada club boxing coach Mike Martino, who told him that Gilbert had contacted him.
“Martino) said he got a call from Gilbert on Friday (Oct. 5) around 5 p.m.,” Kizer said. “He said Gilbert had a prescription from (toxicologist) Dr. Robert Voy (of Las Vegas) and that (Quest Diagnostics) wouldn’t let him give a drug test. I don’t know why he’d wait until after 5 on a Friday to take a test. And a week-plus after the fight doesn’t mean much, unless it’s a positive. That has been our only communication.”
Voy declined to comment and calls to Quest Diagnostics, which conducted the tests, went unanswered.
In addition to Voy and Alonso, Gilbert, a licensed attorney and promoter, had assembled a group of experts in his quest to prove his innocence, including fellow attorneys Anthony Cardinale and Paul Larsen, as well as toxicologist Dr. Ray Kelly.
Kizer said there is no requirement for Quest to test a second sample – a sample B – if the first sample tested positive, as there is an automatic re-test involved in the initial test if it is a positive.
Kizer also said the cutoff for a positive test on methamphetamine is 500 nanograms per milliliter. Gilbert’s reading was in the 900 range.
Kizer said the 500-ng cutoff for a positive test is actually a high reading and is designed to eliminate false-positive tests, such as when a person inhales second-hand methamphetamine smoke. Kizer said the only way to test positive for steroids or methamphetamine is to do the drugs and that a person who hasn’t done the drugs or been exposed to them should test for 0 ng.
Before Quest tests a urinalysis, a commission inspector splits the sample into two vials – if there is enough urine – and applies a seal, which is signed by the inspector and athlete, Kizer said. If the seal is broken, there is not enough urine or the sample appears to have been tampered with, Quest would automatically rule it a negative.
“We don’t require a B sample to come back in order to issue a complaint,” Kizer said. “Four of the six things he took he admitted to twice now. On the other two – the steroids and the meth – on the validation sample he tested positive for them as well.”
Kizer said Gilbert’s pre-fight UA revealed the presence of steroids and his post-fight UA tested positive for the other five drugs.