Bob Arum Blasts ESPN Reporter, Says Herbal Tea Caused Oscar Valdez Positive Test

Published 09/02/2021, 1:01 PM EDT


Ahead of his title defense against Robson Conceicao on September 10, ESPN’s Mike Coppinger reported that Oscar Valdez had tested positive for a diuretic, banned stimulant. This raised concerns regarding the continuation of the scheduled bout. Top-Rank’s Bob Arum recently shared that the fight will go on as planned.

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However, the ESPN report did not sit well with the promoter. He criticized Coppinger for his reporting and even defended Valdez by saying “herbal tea” ingestion led up to him testing positive for Phentermine traces. Bob Arum also claimed that Phentermine is not a PED and is not considered an illegal substance.

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He got it drinking herbal tea,

It’s absolutely nothing, it’s not a PED. It’s not illegal, it’s nothing! There was a very, very light amount (in the sample). He took herbal tea because he wanted to stop drinking coffee. And for this, the kid gets dragged through the mud. For no reason!” said Bob Arum.

It’s irresponsible of reporters to do a report like that, it gives journalism a bad name. Any company that gives such a so-called journalist such a position, they should be ashamed of themselves,” Arum added, referring to ESPN’s Mike Coppinger.

Oscar Valdez adds to the boxing community’s outcry for stricter rules

Boxing and combat sports, at large, take a lot out of fighters. With financial rewards and compensation one could only dream of, it is easy to understand why some pro-boxers risk their health by using and abusing PEDs that give them an unfair advantage in terms of performance optimization.

Clearly, Oscar Valdez testing positive for a banned stimulant is part of a much larger ongoing issue in the sport. Amongst many others, boxing has seen athletes like Canelo Alvarez, David Benavidez, Tyson Fury, Luis Nery, Dillian Whyte, Kid Galaha, Eric Molina test positive in the past few years.

LAS VEGAS, NV – FEBRUARY 20: Oscar Valdez knocks-out Miguel Berchelt during their fight for the WBC super featherweight title at the MGM Grand Conference Center on February 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Recently, broadcaster Adam Catterall shared his thoughts on the matter; he believes there should not even be debate over fighters competing despite testing positive for banned substances.

Catterall called for authorities to cancel fights in case of PED abuse, regardless of the athletes involved. He also indirectly hit back at Bob Arum’s ‘herbal tea’ explanation by saying it should not matter how the substance got into the system.

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ESPN’s Mike Coppinger added it is possible that Oscar Valdez might not have voluntarily or purposely consumed the substance; however, he added that none of that matters as the athlete is responsible for the outcome and for what he or she chooses to consume. Coppinger additionally called for a “zero-tolerance” policy on PED usage.

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Do you think boxing needs to revise its PED rules and regulations?

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Sanjit Misra

251 articles

Sanjit Misra is a boxing author at EssentiallySports. Sanjit fused this passion for writing with his love for jabs, hooks, weaves, and uppercuts and entered the realm of boxing journalism. The elegance, the science, the techniques, and the finesse of hand-to-hand combat was what initially drew him into the world of boxing.

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