Mayweather, USADA deny reported violation of IV-injection protocol

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has responded to a report published Wednesday that Floyd Mayweather received a banned intravenous injection before his May 2 fight with Manny Pacquiao.

The report was published by SBNation and alleged that Mayweather's IV was illegal under World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines, even though the contents - saline and vitamins - are legal.

The crux is that while the USADA granted Mayweather an exemption for the IV injection, it did so three weeks after the fight. In addition, its granting of the exemption wouldn't have mattered, as ESPN's Dan Rafael explains that only the Nevada State Athletic Commission is authorized to give the fighter an exemption.

The USADA attacked the "inaccurate news reports" as having a "genuine misunderstanding of the facts or an intentional desire to mislead." The agency's counterargument is that Mayweather did nothing illegal under Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) rules, and that his participation in the USADA program was voluntary, making his application for a therapeutic use exemption an "additional step."

From its statement:

Although the articles in question contain a multitude of errors, all of which will be addressed at the appropriate time, we believe it is important to immediately correct the record regarding the false suggestion that Floyd Mayweather violated the rules by receiving an IV infusion of saline and vitamins.

As was already publicly reported in May of this year by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), Mr. Mayweather applied for and was granted a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) by USADA for an IV infusion of saline and vitamins that was administered prior to his May 2 fight against Manny Pacquiao. Mr. Mayweather's use of the IV was not prohibited under the NSAC rules at that time and would not be a violation of the NSAC rules today. Nonetheless, because Mr. Mayweather was voluntarily taking part in a USADA program, and therefore subject to the rules of the WADA Code, he took the additional step of applying for a TUE after the IV infusion was administered in order remain in compliance with the USADA program. Although Mr. Mayweather's application was not approved until after his fight with Mr. Pacquiao and all tests results were reported, Mr. Mayweather did disclose the infusion to USADA in advance of the IV being administered to him. Furthermore, once the TUE was granted, the NSAC and Mr. Pacquiao were immediately notified even though the practice is not prohibited under NSAC rules.

Mayweather, who will attempt to close out his professional career at 49-0 on Saturday against Andre Berto, released the following statement to ESPN:

As already confirmed by the USADA statement, I did not commit any violations of the Nevada or USADA drug testing guidelines. I follow and have always followed the rules of Nevada and USADA, the gold standard of drug testing.

Let's not forget that I was the one six years ago who insisted on elevating the level of drug testing for all my fights. As a result, there is more drug testing and awareness of its importance in the sport of boxing today than ever before. I am very proud to be a clean athlete and will continue to champion the cause.

Pacquiao was denied an exemption to take a painkiller injection for a controversial and previously undisclosed rotator cuff injury. He has not publicly commented on the report of Mayweather's IV use.

Mayweather, USADA deny reported violation of IV-injection protocol
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