Tale of the tape on case vs. Gilbert
Appeal Sports Writer
After being notified in a June 4, 2007, letter from the Nevada State Athletic Commission that he had tested positive for four drugs – amphetamine (Adderall), nordiazepam, temazepam and oxazepam – in a post-fight urinalysis following his 10th-round technical knockout of Juan Astorga May 12 at Reno Events Center, Reno middleweight Joey Gilbert appeared contrite.
“…(There) was no intentional wrong doing on my part and…I will NEVER (Gilbert’s emphasis) allow this to happen again….” Gilbert said in a June 11 letter to the commission.
The 31-year-old Gilbert, now 16-0 with 12 knockouts, informed a ringside physician before the fight that he had been taking the hypnotic Ambien, the benzodiazepine Xanax and the painkiller Ultracet.
He subsequently explained in his response to the commission that he was prescribed the Adderall and “forgot” to include Valium.
The commission was evidently satisfied by Gilbert’s explanation that the Valium metabolized into nordiazepam, temazepam and oxazepam and did not conduct a disciplinary hearing, instead warning him to conform to all of its rules in the future.
In the June 21st letter, signed by NSAC chairman Dr. Tony Alamo, Gilbert was informed he would not be medically cleared to compete if he ingested the Adderall or any other amphetamine before or during any future bout.
But prior to his Sept. 21 fight with Charles Howe, whom he subsequently stopped in one round, Gilbert signed a document stating that in the month before the fight he had been taking Ambien, the muscle relaxer Soma, Valium, Xanax and, once again, Adderall.
In his post-fight urinalysis, Gilbert once again tested positive for Adderall, nordiazepam, temazepam and oxazepam – a second offense – but he also tested positive for the street drug methamphetamine and the anabolic steroid Stanozolol metabolite (formerly Winstrol) as well.
The commission informed Gilbert, who tested negative for masking agents, of the results in a complaint for disciplinary action and notice of hearing, which was filed with the Nevada Attorney General’s office Monday.
In his pre-fight document, Gilbert stated that he last took Ambien and Valium one month before the fight, Soma seven days, Adderall four days and Xanax three days before his bout with Howe, who tested negative for all banned substances in his post-fight UA.
In its complaint, the NSAC is seeking a fine (up to the full amount of Gilbert’s $25,000 purse), a suspension of Gilbert’s boxing license (for at least a year), other costs and that the bout with Howe be changed to a no-decision.
Gilbert, who is currently on temporary suspension, requested in an Oct. 3 letter to the commission that it release any further information requested to his attorney Anthony Cardinale, toxicologist Dr. Ray Kelly and Dr. Robert Voy.
Voy is a former NSAC member.
NSAC executive director Keith Kizer said Thursday that a “status quo hearing” would be held Oct. 16 in Las Vegas, and that Gilbert would not be required to attend. Gilbert has 20 days from his receipt of the letter – in this case, Oct. 25 – to provide a written response to the commission’s response.
“He can waive it (the Oct. 25 date) and provide it earlier or he can have more time – up to two or three months later,” Kizer said. “We’d rather it be later rather than sooner. He can have the hearing as early as the end of (October), but we don’t encourage it. We want the athlete to have as much time as is needed to present his evidence.”
In addition to being a licensed boxer, Gilbert is a licensed promoter and attorney. Kizer said Tuesday that the temporary – or full – suspension would preclude Gilbert from promoting, managing, engaging in or attending a fight. He is also not allowed to work in a corner.
David Clark, deputy bar council for the State Bar of Nevada, said Thursday that Gilbert would likely not face any form of discipline for testing positive for methamphetamine.
The State bar of Nevada oversees ethical conduct by its licensed attorneys and would investigate only criminal activity, Clark said. “I don’t know if a urine test is sufficient for that (an act of discipline),” said Clark, who added that the State Bar of Nevada would likely leave all punishment to the NSAC in the event Gilbert is found to test positive for methamphetamine after its hearing processes are completed.
Gilbert released the following statement on his Web site, joeygilbert.com: “Anyone who has ever seen me running our mountain trails or in the gym knows I work hard and train hard.
“Speak to any of my trainers or coaches, past or present. It is training and sacrifice which has gotten me to where I am today. I will apply that same determination to clearing my name and I am certain there will be a satisfactory explanation and outcome.”
Gilbert holds two belts – the WBO-affiliated North American Boxing Organization and WBC-affiliated United States middleweight titles – and is currently ranked No. 6 by the WBO.
Gilbert was ranked as high as No. 4 by the WBO and if he doesn’t defend his NABO belt by the end of the year, could lose the belt and fall out of the organization’s rankings.