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Dr. Goodman Kept VADA Off the Ropes in 2012

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The Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA), an independent nonprofit organization founded in 2011 to offer and promote effective anti-doping programs in boxing and mixed martial arts, finished the 2012 tax year, its first complete year of operations, with a 12% budget deficit. In order to cover the deficit, VADA Founder and President, Dr. Margaret Goodman, provided a personal loan of $25,107 to the nonprofit organization.

“Our board/officers, including myself, stand behind a clean sport,” Goodman told me. “Administrative and other costs can add up. Sometimes you have to put your money where your mouth is if you believe in clean sport.”

Adrian Zapata, a former nonprofit partnership banking officer for BBVA Compass Bank, told me losses were commonplace for any first year business, especially a nonprofit.

“Yes, it can be common for a nonprofit to lose that amount of money, but I would highly suggest looking to see where that money is going and how it’s being spent.”

Information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show VADA’s expenses were almost $195k in 2012, $170k of which was dedicated to paying professional fees and independent contractors. It appears the bulk of these costs, if not all, were related to specimen collection and lab expenses, though Goodman said there may have also been a small subset related to accounting and legal services.

The remainder of the total, around $25k, was earmarked for other expenses related to overhead costs. Items noted in this category include $11.5k for website costs, almost $8k for insurance and $375 for public relations.

VADA’s 2012 highlights included the testing of its first batch of fighters, welterweights Andre Berto and Victor Ortiz, as well as eventual 2012 BWAA Fighter of the Year, Nonito Donaire (pictured above, holding BWAA Fighter of the Year award for 2012), signing up for year-round drug testing with the organization. Donaire is the first professional boxer to undergo advanced year-round random drug testing.

VADA proved effective from the start. Two out of the first six fighters put through a VADA program, Andre Berto and Lamont Peterson, tested positive for banned substances. Each bout was subsequently cancelled.

The year also featured opportunities for VADA to improve.

In the case of Lamont Peterson, VADA was forced to rethink its Results Management policy. The inaugural policy only notified relative athletic commissions after both samples, ‘A’ and ‘B’, tested positive for a banned substance. Critics of the policy, including the NSAC’s Keith Kizer, argued VADA’s approach was unfair to everyone involved, including Peterson’s opponent, Amir Khan, as well as fans and promoters.

“The person who really got hurt was Amir Khan, who passed all the tests,” Kizer recently told Brent Brookhouse. “The fight got cancelled, and the fans, some of which had non-refundable airline tickets, got really hurt by all this. And if they had told us even a week earlier, Golden Boy would have had time to find a replacement for Peterson, and Khan and his fans would have been satisfied, but unfortunately, they hid the results from us.”

VADA has since updated the policy.

“Regarding the unfortunate Lamont Peterson situation, I agree that it would have been preferable had VADA been able to report the ‘A’ results to the commission…,” Goodman told Brookhouse. “However, after the fiasco that occurred, VADA analyzed the real-world application of its policy and changed the policy. Now, the athletes must agree that the relevant commission will be notified of all results, including the preliminary ‘A’ results, as a condition of entry to the program. Nobody — including the athletes or promoters — is able to contract around this policy of reporting all results to the commission. Since then, everything has run much more smoothly.”

By the end of 2012, VADA had established itself one of the premier providers of advanced PED testing programs in the world of combat sports, alongside the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). While USADA operates on a much larger scale and across multiple sports (USADA is recognized by the U.S. Congress as the official anti-doping agency for US Olympic, Pan American and Paralympic sports), VADA specializes exclusively in providing educational resources and testing programs for athletes competing in professional combat sports.

VADA does not have employees, and none of its board members, including Goodman, receive any form of compensation for their work. That means no annual salaries or bonuses, discretionary or otherwise. In comparison, USADA CEO Travis Tygart took home well over $350k in income and other compensation in 2011 alone.

According to its 2011 application for recognition as a nonprofit organization with the IRS, the volunteer status of Goodman and her cohorts has been planned from the very beginning. One might say Goodman and company are putting the ‘V’ in VADA.

Goodman said there are no current plans for that to change, and that she couldn’t foresee an instance where it would change years from now either.

Goodman founded VADA on September 29, 2011 by submitting nonprofit articles of incorporation papers to the secretary of state’s office in Nevada. Beginning with just $5k in cash assets, the fledgling organization collected almost $28k in revenue during the three remaining months of the year and finished with net assets totaling just under $2.5k after expenses.

So how is 2013 looking so far?

“I’m not sure, to be honest,” said Goodman. “We don’t request any more funding from athletes than is necessary to run the program.”

Goodman said the current setup was to have athletes find sponsorships or provide payment themselves.

“Sometimes it has been the promoter, sometimes the athlete or his team, sometimes from unrelated donors,” she said. “The first year or so, we wanted to demonstrate to commissions that unannounced random, stringent PED testing could work.”

Goodman said it was impossible to know whether she’d find herself in the position again of needing to provide another personal loan to VADA. She also said the possibility wouldn’t stop VADA from their mission, which includes offering sponsorships to program participants when funding is available.

“In combat sports, the fighters deserve more in terms of protecting their health. It can be expensive, but it’s the right thing to do.”

Goodman is a practicing neurologist in Las Vegas. Her work in boxing does not appear to be driven by the bottom line of an accounting ledger. The former NSAC medical advisory board chairman said her volunteer work to move boxing and MMA towards safer standards didn’t start with VADA. She spent 6 years with the NSAC in a role where she was responsible for reviewing medical tests and dealing with other medical issues, and she did it for free, working as many as 20 hours a week.

“Bottom line, donating my efforts to helping fighters is not a new thing for me. And it is not just me. Many others — like all those involved with the Association of Ring Physicians — do the same. I have respect for the fighters and believe in protecting their health through the promotion of sophisticated and thorough PED testing programs.”

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The International Boxing Hall of Fame Announces the Class of 2022

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PRESS RELEASE: (Dec. 7, 2021) — The International Boxing Hall of Fame and Museum announced today the members of the Class of 2022. Living inductees include champions Miguel Cotto, Roy Jones Jr., and James Toney in the men’s Modern category; champions Regina Halmich and Holly Holm in the women’s Modern category; publicist Bill Caplan in the-Non-Participant category; and journalist Ron Borges and historian producer Bob Yalen in the Observer category.

Posthumous inductees are junior lightweight champion “The Seattle Flash” Tod Morgan in the Old Timer category and ring announcer Chuck Hull in the Non-Participant category. Inductees were voted in by members of the Boxing Writers Association and a panel of international boxing historians.

“We’re extremely excited about the Class of 2022 and are very much looking forward to honoring the newest class of inductees to earn boxing’s highest honor,” said Executive Director Edward Brophy.

Due to the cancellation of the two previous Induction Weekends, the Classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022 will be honored at a “Once in a Lifetime” Hall of Fame Weekend Induction Trilogy scheduled for June 9-12th in “Boxing’s Hometown.”

With today’s announcement, we are thrilled to have the final piece of the Induction Trilogy in place,” said Brophy.

The Class of 2020 includes Bernard Hopkins, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Christy Martin, Lucia Rijker, Barbara Buttrick, Frank Erne, Paddy Ryan, Lou DiBella, Kathy Duva, Dan Goossen, Bernard Fernandez and Thomas Hauser.

The Class of 2021 includes Wladimir Klitschko, Floyd Mayweather, Andre Ward, Laila Ali, Ann Wolfe, Marian Trimier, Jackie Tonawanda, Davey Moore, Freddie Brown, Dr. Margaret Goodman, Jackie McCoy, George Kimball and Jay Larkin.

The 2022 Hall of Fame Weekend Induction Trilogy will feature many events in “Boxing’s Hometown,” of Canastota throughout the four-day celebration, including a 5K Race / Fun Run, boxing autograph card show, Parade of Champions and the official Induction Ceremony on the Hall of Fame Museum Grounds. The Hall of Fame evening events include Friday night’s Fight Night at Turning Stone and Saturday’s Banquet of Champions. Both events will take place at Turning Stone Resort Casino in nearby Verona, NY.

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Renowned Author Leigh Montville Talks About Muhammad Ali, The Myths and The Man

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Over the course of five-decades-plus, Leigh Montville has delivered books on the careers of Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Dale Earnhardt, Jim Calhoun, Manute Bol, Evel Knievel, John Montague and Muhammad Ali. Each is well-written and researched and tells an interesting story, but it’s the 2017 book “Sting Like A Bee: Muhammad Ali vs. The United States Of America, 1966 – 1971,” that somehow stands apart.

The reason is because it deals with a five-year block when he wasn’t boxing and had a legal battle on his hands after refusing to be inducted into the military for religious reasons.

“I was looking for a book topic and floated one to my editor at Random House, Jason Kaufman, but he rejected it. He said I should look for an iconic figure, someone like Ruth or Williams or Earnhardt, who had been previous subjects. I made a list of iconic sports figures, all kinds of people, but felt I was missing someone,” explained Montville, whose most recent literary offering is, “Tall Men, Short Shorts: The 1969 NBA Finals: Wilt, Russ, Lakers, Celtics, And A Very Young Reporter.” “Bing! It hit me. Muhammad Ali. The most iconic sports figure of our time.”

Montville then went searching for everything that had been written about Ali in book form.

“I looked to see what had been done on Ali. The best book was ‘King Of The World’’ by David Remnick, which I had read. His story stopped when Ali beat [Sonny] Liston and became a member of the Nation of Islam,” he said. “I thought that this end was when Ali’s most interesting period really began, all of the legal stuff, his time of banishment, his grand return to face [Joe] Frazier in the Fight of the Century. I had no interest in doing a full-scale biography, but this five-year period was fascinating to me.”

Montville’s time researching that period unearthed several interesting finds.

“A bunch of misconceptions have developed about Ali in the rush to confer a sort of secular sainthood on him. He wasn’t a big civil rights guy. He wasn’t a great resister of the Vietnam War,” he pointed out. “He promoted a sort of segregationist philosophy, the idea that black people should have their own land, their own society, a place away from white people. It was a sort of Give Us Kansas and let us live by ourselves. He never marched once with Martin Luther King. During the war, he went to one rally, and didn’t like it. He never went again. He was fighting to keep himself out of the army, not anybody else.”

Montville, a sportswriter and columnist at the Boston Globe for more than two decades and a senior writer for a dozen years at Sports Illustrated, added: “He was a kid who had fallen into a cult. His white-guy, businessmen backers in Louisville sent him to Miami and set him up with Angelo Dundee as a trainer, but they didn’t set up anything for his down time when he wasn’t training,” he said. “That was when he fell under the spell of the Nation of Islam’s rhetoric.”

Views and opinions were extremely varied on Ali then. Where did Montville, who has been honored with the Red Smith Award and the PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing, fit in?

“I’m only 18 months younger than Ali and I was going through the worries about the draft at the same time he was,” he said. “I joined the National Guard. I thought he had just found a clever way to get out of it, a way that was open if you had money and lawyers. He was never a villain in my mind, just a guy working the angles.”

Montville’s view is somewhat different more than five decades later. “I give him a bit more credit now,” he said. “I think he said a lot of those things that got him in trouble just off the top of his head and then had to back them up. I give him credit for seeing them through. I never thought he was a hero during this time, though his views on Vietnam were a lot like mine. It was a bad war.”

During this period the Black Muslims played an important role in Ali’s life.

“The Black Muslims ultimately were very good for Ali. They made him who he was. He would have been another boxer – a very good boxer, to be sure, maybe, yes, the greatest – if it were not for the Muslims,” Montville said. “The time period of my book, the stretch where he was cast out of boxing, followed by the comeback, was what made Ali different. He became a world figure, not just an athlete. Ali never would have been Ali if it were not for the Muslims. He would have been Cassius Clay, a very good fighter, but not much more.”

During the turbulent decade of the 1960s, Ali was front and center and a folk hero to some.

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“I think he’s been captured forever as the face for the Sixties. No documentary of the time can get more than 30 seconds in without having his image flash on the screen, usually backed by some music by the Doors,” said Montville, a graduate of the University of Connecticut. “I don’t think this will change. His importance only has grown in recent years and, as memories of the time get reduced to catch-phrases and sound bites, he is perfect. ‘I got nothing against them Viet Cong!’”

Was Ali a tool for the Nation of Islam? “I think he was a pawn in the beginning. He was the religion’s big catch, the convert brought into the boat and posed in public relations pictures with the Honorable Elijah Muhammad,” Montville said. “I think things got sketchy when the Honorable Elijah Muhammad realized that Ali had become bigger than he was, the embodiment of the faith. The pawn became the king. That was the problem.”

What period of Ali’s storied life appealed most to Montville? “The part of Ali’s life I liked best was when he didn’t have money and was going around to the colleges, often with his wife, doing his talks, sort of an evangelical minister,” he said. “There was a purity about him then. He was young and misguided, for sure, but he believed what he was doing. When he came back to boxing, all of that disappeared. He became much more venal, sometimes nasty, a creature of the world.”

Montville continued: “The sainthood all came after he retired, after he became sick,” he noted. “I think the sainthood is a myth, but the man underneath, the narcissist, was human and fascinating. You look at his success and he used a lot of the same messaging that [Donald] Trump used. Except he used it first.”

If Ali was boxing today, would he stand out?

“No. Not at all. He came along at a time when boxing was much more important than it is now and when network television was much more important,” Montville said. “He had a captive audience when only three networks were in operation. He would be competing now with other sports, leagues, the constant stream of games and people and other entertainment. His greatest act has been copied by so many people, it would sound ordinary today, kind of ridiculous. At best, he would be a Colin Kaepernick kind of rebel, but on a smaller stage because boxing is a much smaller stage now.”

Is it justified that Ali has been looked at differently since he retired from the ring?

“His years of illness probably did more for Ali’s image than anything,” Montville said. “He became like one of those celebrities who died young – Marilyn [Monroe], James Dean, whoever – captured in their prime forever. No matter that he was still alive. He wasn’t out in the world, living, doing things no one expected.”

Montville added: “When he came into the public eye for the last 30 years or so, he was a shambling, Mother Teresa kind of character, beloved by all. If he hadn’t been sick, he would have been out in the everyday world, living, falling into the pitfalls of divorce, drink, whatever,” he said. “Joe Namath, another idol of that time, does those stupid commercials for Social Security supplement insurance. Ali would have done the same and his star would have been diminished.”

Editor’s Note: “Sting Like a Bee: Muhammad Ali vs. the United States Of America, 1966-1971,” is available via Amazon and found at better bookstores everywhere.

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Jake Paul Re-Ups with Tyron Woodley on Dec. 18 after Tommy Fury Pulls Out

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Tommy Fury has pulled out of his Dec. 18 match in Tampa with Jake Paul on Showtime PPV. Stepping in for Fury is Tyron Woodley. This will be a rematch. Paul defeated Woodley by split decision on Aug. 29.

Fury cited a broken rib and a bacterial chest infection in a formal statement in which he said he was “absolutely heartbroken” by this development. “The beginning of my camp was going so incredibly and I never expected anything to come in my way from a victory on December 18th,” he said. “I can’t express how disappointed I am and I really do hope we can get this fight rescheduled in the new year…”

Tommy Fury, 22, is the younger half-brother of lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. As a pro boxer, he’s 7-0 but against motley competition. In the aggregate, his opponents were 14-175-5 at the time that he fought them.

In England, Fury is primarily known for his appearances on the 2019 installment of the reality TV show “Love Island.” Paired with supermodel and social media influencer Molly May Hague, he made it to the finals. Fury and Hague subsequently became real-life partners and now share a home together. Needless to say, their relationship has been great sauce for the tabloids.

Tyron Woodley, a 39-year-old father of four, grew-up in Ferguson, Missouri, a crime-plagued community that borders St. Louis. At the University of Missouri where he majored in agricultural economics, ostensibly with the intent of becoming a farmer, he was a two-time All-American wrestler. He went on to become a UFC welterweight (165-pound) champion. However, he would end his MMA career with four straight losses.

In Paul-Woodley I, Jake vaulted to an early lead. “During the first three rounds, it was painful to watch Woodley who seemed lost inside a boxing ring instead of a cage,” wrote TSS mainstay David A. Avila. But Woodley landed the best punch of the fight in round four, hurting Paul with a left hand, and things got a bit dicey from there. At the end of the 8-round contest, the judges had it 78-74, 77-75, and 75-77, giving Paul the nod by split decision.

Before today, Paul showed no interest in a rematch. “I don’t think people wanna see Tyron vs. Jake Paul again; he had his chance,” Paul told TMZ. But Jake is too valuable a commodity for Showtime to lose the date. The Paul-Woodley match in August attracted a sell-out crowd of more than 16,000 to the NBA arena in Cleveland with many in attendance arriving with a parent in tow, being too young to drive.

Jake Paul vs. Tommy Fury was given the tagline “One Will Fall.” Paul-Woodley II, an 8-rounder contested at the catchweight of 192 pounds, has been christened “Leave No Doubt.”

Paul, who is 4-0 as a pro, having feasted on thirty-somethings, would have been the underdog against Tommy Fury, barring late developments. One prominent online bookmaking establishment was quoting odds of 9/5 Fury before the fight was taken off the board. They re-posted Jake Paul a 3/1 favorite over Tyron Woodley.

The Dec. 18 card at Tampa’s Amalie Arena, which remains a Showtime PPV, includes an intriguing 10-round contest between unbeaten super lightweights Liam Paro (21-0), and Yomar Alamo (20-0-1). In another bout of note, the great Amanda Serrano (41-1-1) opposes Mariam Gutierrez (14-1).

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