If you were one of the many individuals who paid an arm and a leg to watch Floyd Mayweather Jr. take on Manny Pacquiao in their much-anticipated welterweight unification bout on May 2, 2015 only to be thoroughly disappointed with the fight itself, we hope you’re sitting down. You’re about to be hit with a something far worse than anything that was thrown on that fateful evening.
According to an SB Nation report written by Thomas Hauser and published on Wednesday, collection agents for the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) — the company hired to oversee drug testing for the fight — arrived at Mayweather’s Vegas house on the day prior to the fight to perform an unannounced random drug test. Upon arrival, they found the champ had been administered an intravenous injection of saline and vitamins. Oops.
Per Hauser’s report, Mayweather’s camp told the agents that the IV consisted of two separate mixes: “The first was a mixture of 250 milliliters of saline and multi-vitamins. The second was a 500-milliliter mixture of saline and Vitamin C.” These were used in order to deal with dehydration following the weigh-in that took place earlier in the day. Of course, that’s not the scathing part. Not even close.
The fact is, neither of these substances is banned under World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) guidelines. However, the use of intravenous injections is, as they can “dilute or mask the presence of another substance that is already in the recipient’s system or might be added to it in the near future.” Just like that, we have a pretty major scandal on our hands. And for Mayweather, who’s set to take on Andre Berto this weekend in a welterweight championship fight for the chance to increase his record to 49-0, this couldn’t have come at a worse time.
After reviewing the report, it’s hard not to agree with Hauser’s feeling that this whole incident surrounding Mayweather is “extremely troubling.” His report claims that Mayweather was granted a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) by the USDA three weeks after the bout with Pacquiao. However, per Dan Rafael of ESPN, the USDA — in a statement released on Thursday — argues that Mayweather had asked for and was granted the exemption for the IV prior to its administration.
“Although Mr. Mayweather’s application was not approved until after his fight with Mr. Pacquiao and all tests results were reported, Mr. Mayweather did disclose the infusion to USADA in advance of the IV being administered to him,” USADA’s statement read. “Furthermore, once the TUE [therapeutic use exemption] was granted, the NSAC and Mr. Pacquiao were immediately notified even though the practice is not prohibited under NSAC rules.”
What’s even more suspect about this matter is that the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) was not told about the use of the IV until May 21, when the USDA informed them it had granted Mayweather a retroactive therapeutic-use exemption. Interestingly enough, per the report, Mayweather hadn’t even applied for the exemption until May 19. On top of that, NSAC executive director Bob Bennett has said the USDA has no right to grant an exemption. Period. This makes things look worse than they already are. And they were pretty bad to begin with.
The championship bout between Mayweather and Pacquiao was being promoted as “The Fight of the Century.” The people involved in the fight — especially the two in the ring — made a lot of money — record-breaking money. However, the further removed we get, the more we seem to realize that the fight may not have been all it was cracked up to be.
First, we learned that Pacquiao didn’t fully disclose the extent of his shoulder injury and now we’re reading that “Money” Mayweather used a banner IV the day before the fight itself. If you ask us, regardless of the outcome, this fight now seems to have been tainted from the start. For the sake of fans of the sport, we hope that’s the only thing that was.