HIV-Positive Boxer's Falsified Test Investigated by Arkansas Athletic Commission

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2017

NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 08:  Stock Photography. Generic Boxing Image. Everlast boxing gloves and a medicine ball photographed outside a boxing ring.  (Photo by Ross Land/Getty Images)
Ross Land/Getty Images

The Arkansas Department of Health has confirmed the Arkansas Athletic Commission allowed an HIV-positive boxer who submitted falsified test information to compete on a card on November 11.

Per ESPN's Dan Rafael, the name of the boxer has been withheld. Meg Mirivel, the ADH's public information officer, has confirmed reports of the falsified test:

"Since ADH sent [ESPN] a statement [on Monday about the incident], we have learned that the HIV test results submitted to the Arkansas Athletic Commission were falsified.

"The investigation into this issue is ongoing. The ADH is beginning to contact and provide follow-up testing to anyone in contact with the fighter. In addition, we will be working with the Arkansas Athletic Commission to change regulations to require bloodwork for every fighter in Arkansas going forward."

The boxer fought on a small card at the Boys & Girls Club in Camden, Arkansas, with three other bouts also taking place. Fight Fax had him on its national suspension registry, and federal law dictates commissions check said registry before they can issue a license. 

The fighter was reportedly suspended in Florida, meaning Arkansas was not allowed to hand him a license, even if the falsified test had been legitimate.

A Florida matchmaker, who said he tested him twice, told Rafael the fighter said he was going to try his luck in Arkansas:

"I went ahead and retested him again to make sure that the test wasn't a false positive,. And the test came back positive the second time. The kid was in denial, and he had made a statement that he would fight in Arkansas because of their lax medical requirements. Because of the fighter's statement, I felt what he was going to attempt to do, with knowledge, [was] a criminal act. Therefore, I notified Frank Gentile with the Florida commission about the fighter's lab results."

The Arkansas commission was warned about the fighter, but it allowed him―and others―to provide their own test results rather than go through an independent process. 

Per Rafael, Arkansas also broke federal law by reporting the fight results to Fight Fax too late. Commissions are required to report on cards within 48 hours.