Conor Benn, who was recently “cleared” by the WBC for anti-doping violations, has taken aim with the WBC regarding their statement and raised issues with the WBC/VADA testing processes despite his recent clearance from the organisation. Benn was found to have failed two VADA anti-doping tests for Clomiphene in July and September of 2022 which ultimately led to a cancelled pay-per-view showdown with Chris Eubank Jr set previously for October 8th.
Earlier this month (February 2023) Benn was recently returned to the WBC welterweight ranking following an investigation into the failed tests which took several months to conclude. Benn was cleared as the WBC found “No conclusive evidence” that Benn took the substance, clomiphene, knowingly or intentionally. The WBC ultimately decided that a “highly-elevated consumption of eggs during the times relevant to the sample collection, raised a reasonable explanation for the adverse finding.”
Benn has responded to the WBC’s decision to clear him with an appreciation of their decision but has raised issues with their statement regarding the reasoning for his failed tests and attacked their testing procedures.
“In my defence to the WBC and the 270-page report provided to them at no point did I indicate that I failed any VADA tests because of contaminated eggs.
"As part of its lengthy investigation, the WBC instructed its own experts to review my supplements and diet and they concluded that egg contamination was the most likely cause.
"Those experts have seen this issue arise in elite athletes across other sports and I have no reason to question their analysis when it concludes that I am not a cheat.
"However, I feel like the WBC statement did a disservice to my defence which was based upon a comprehensive scientific review of the testing procedures which set out a number of reasons why we believed the results were completely unreliable and proved beyond any reasonable doubt that I am innocent.”
Benn has raised issues with the number of times his A sample was tested, claiming that his A-sample had been tested four times according to his statement. Benn has also raised issues with the sample testing procedures conducted for his samples. Conor states that his “science and legal team contained extensive analysis and concluded that there was clear evidence of fundamental flaws and irregularities ”.
The statement continues that his A-sample was tested three times before being and without explanation was “retested again after 9 days and only then did it show a trace positive result (no dates have been stated).” Benn continues to add that his sample should have only been “tested once” and “that these critical findings were endorsed by an independent expert scientist who provides accreditation to laboratories.” Benn feels that due to the issues of the laboratory and its procedures that “the lab could lose its accreditation” and that “my team will be referring the issues to the relevant accrediting body so it can make its own determination.”
Conor then confirms that he has asked for his B-Sample to be tested at the earliest opportunity and that his scientific representative was prohibited from witnessing the opening of the B-sample and that it was a breach of his athlete’s rights.
“For what it’s worth and contrary to the media speculation at the time, I requested the B samples be tested at the earliest opportunity. Because of the importance of trying to get to the bottom of what had happened, I arranged for a scientist to fly across the world to attend the testing procedure in person (as you’re allowed to do under the rules) and unbelievably she was not even allowed to be in the room when the test results came through. How’s that for transparency?
“I have been advised that’s a major breach of an athlete’s rights and had it been necessary to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport on this case to prove my innocence, that alone would have meant the test results were dismissed.”
Benn ultimately believes that the substance was never in his system in direct contrast to his WBC report. Benn also cites that he passed a UKAD test barely a week following his failed VADA test.
“I am convinced the substance was never in my system and I certainly never knowingly ingested it. I am told it’s something that supposedly stays in the body for months, and yet barely a week after failing a VADA test, I passed a UKAD test. I have never previously failed any kind of anti-doping test and passed multiple tests with both UKAD and VADA in close proximity to the two tests that returned adverse findings. This adds further proof to my belief that the findings were testing errors.”
Benn concludes that his immediate focus is on rebuilding his career. It should be noted that the BBBofC are still investigating Benn into the violations along with UKAD at the time of publication.