Home Boxing What’s next for Ryan Garcia following his one-year PED suspension?

What’s next for Ryan Garcia following his one-year PED suspension?

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What’s next for Ryan Garcia following his one-year PED suspension?

Ryan Garcia has been suspended one year following his positive tests for the performance-enhancing drug ostarine — retroactive to his April 20 majority decision victory over Devin Haney, which has been overturned to a no-contest — after the boxing star reached a settlement with the New York State Athletic Commission, the commission told ESPN on Thursday.

Garcia, 25, also forfeited his purse, the commission said. Garcia’s disclosed purse was $1.2 million, sources said, which is what he will relinquish, though his guaranteed earnings were millions more. The commission said it also fined Garcia $10,000.

Garcia (24-1-1NC, 20 KOs) floored Haney three times during the bout, in Rounds 7, 10 and 11. Garcia was ineligible to win Haney’s WBC junior welterweight title and now Garcia will be sidelined for at least one year. Garcia’s attorney, Paul Greene, told ESPN last month that he was hoping for a four-month suspension or less.

“My whole thing is I’d rather tell the truth than try to fabricate it with a lie because lies don’t stand,” Garcia told ESPN last month before the B-sample returned positive. “So if I really did take [ostarine], I would be like, ‘Honestly, I was going through a weird situation. I wasn’t really that confident. I chose to take it. I’m sorry.’ And that’s it. But I didn’t and I hate cheating. … All I can say is legal team, help me figure this out.”

The Voluntary Anti-Doping Association administered the doping tests, but it does not adjudicate punishment. That was up to the New York State Athletic Commission, under whose rules the fight took place.

Garcia and Haney enrolled in VADA testing ahead of their fight, meaning both boxers were randomly tested multiple times in the lead-up. Athletes are required to submit whereabouts forms so that collectors can find them anywhere.

“Whoever got caught doping and admitted it?” Haney said last month on “SportsCenter.” “I think he would have been the first in history.”

Haney was as much as a -900 favorite, per ESPN BET, before he entered the ring at -575 after Garcia was 3.2 pounds overweight. Haney was ESPN’s No. 6 pound-for-pound boxer, a slick fighter who was the undisputed lightweight champion.

Haney (31-0-1NC, 15 KOs) had never been on the canvas in 31 pro fights before he faced Garcia. One judge scored the bout even, 112-112, but was overruled by 114-110 and 115-109 scorecards for Garcia.

Now that Garcia is suspended for one year, what comes next?


Why was Garcia suspended for one year?

Garcia avoided a hearing with the commission and instead accepted a one-year suspension, a harsh penalty that will prevent the star boxer from competing until April 20, 2025. Garcia already forfeited $600,000 to Haney after he missed weight and will now lose another $1,210,000, bringing the total to $1,821,000.

“It is a harsh result,” Haney’s attorney, Pat English, told ESPN. English, who has worked in boxing for 40-plus years, has worked on numerous PED cases. “I have never seen a $1.2 million forfeiture or anything remotely close to it.”

With such a high-profile case closely being monitored, the commission surely felt a responsibility to mete out punishment and prove it wasn’t favoring a star boxer. It did just that with a costly penalty that will hopefully deter PED use in the future.

When Canelo Alvarez, boxing’s top star, was suspended six months in 2018 for the banned substance clenbuterol, the short length drew criticism. After all, most boxers at that level compete just twice a year anyway.

Garcia fought twice last year, a KO loss to Gervonta “Tank” Davis in April, and a KO victory over Oscar Duarte in December.


What was Garcia’s defense?

According to the New York State Athletic Commission’s rules, when a fighter tests positive for a banned substance, they have the “right to a fair hearing” where “the burden is on the athlete to come forward with evidence that rebuts the presumption of doping.”

The commission adheres to “strict liability” in regard to anti-doping.

“The combatant is responsible for anything that he/she puts in their body,” the rules read. “If the combatant takes supplements and later tests positive, it is the combatant’s responsibility.

“The combatant should be aware that the supplement industry is poorly regulated and studies have shown that some supplements are contaminated with steroids. If a prohibited substance is detected in the combatant’s sample — even if it was unintentional — it will result in a violation of NYSAC rules.”

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