Conor Benn back on suspension over 2022 positive doping test

By Scott Shaffer


Conor Benn back on suspension over 2022 positive doping test

The British Boxing Board of Control (“BBBoC”) reports that British welterweight Conor Benn is back on suspension in the United Kigndom for a 2022 doping violation. Despited these lingering issues, Benn has fought twice in the United States while the lawyers battled out whether he should remain suspended for a positive drug test or excused for allegedly eating too many eggs.  Last week, the BBBofC said, "UK Anti-Doping (“UKAD”) has stated [and] the BBBoC can confirm that Conor Benn is subject to a Provisional Suspension prohibiting him from participating in any capacity (or assisting another Athlete in any capacity) in a Competition, Event or activity that is organised, convened, authorised or recognised by the BBBoC or any other World Anti-Doping Code-compliant sport. UKAD and the BBBoC were successful in their respective appeals of a decision handed down by a tribunal of the independent National Anti-Doping Panel in July 2023, and Mr. Benn’s Provisional Suspension was reimposed by the appeal tribunal following those successful appeals. As Mr Benn’s case remains before the independent National Anti-Doping Panel and the case will now progress in accordance with the UK Anti-Doping Rules, the BBBoC is not able to make any further public comment at this time.’
AUG. 8, 2023: As of July 28th, British welterweight Conor Benn has been free to return a boxing ring despite prior issues with a failed test for banned performance enhancing and/or masking substances. Benn (21-0) was suspended just prior to a scheduled October British super fight vs. Chris Eubank, Jr.  On July 28th, a spokesperson for the United Kingdom Anti-Doping authority issued the following statement that Benn’s suspension was over: “In April 2023, UKAD took the exceptional step of publicly disclosing details of Mr. Conor Benn’s provisional suspension and charge following reports from the media and comments made by Mr. Benn himself. UKAD’s statement also confirmed that the case would follow the Results Management process in accordance with UKAD’s own rules. [However,] Mr. Benn has made further public comments [on July 28th] regarding proceedings before the independent National Anti-Doping Panel. UKAD can confirm Mr. Benn is no longer provisionally suspended under the UK Anti-Doping Rules.”

UKAD’s statement conclude, “The UK Anti-Doping Rules detail limited circumstances in which UKAD is able to make public disclosures about ongoing cases.  They also set out a clear process within which cases can be heard and decisions can be handed down by the independent National Anti-Doping Panel. Where case decisions are handed down by a panel, the Rules provide all relevant parties with a right of appeal.  Under the Rules, UKAD has 21 days from the date of receipt of a decision to file any appeal. UKAD carefully reviews all decisions in its cases before deciding whether to exercise its right of appeal. UKAD is not able to make any further public disclosures in accordance with the UK Anti-Doping Rules at this time.”
FEB. 23, 2023: The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) is not buying Conor Benn's excuse that eating a large number of eggs caused him to fail a doping test. Quite contrary to the WBC's enabling of future cheating, the BBBoC issued a statement saying it will maintain a strict liability policy towards doping violations. Here is the BBBoC statement:  "The BBBoC is aware that the WBC has considered two positive findings in relation to Conor Benn who, at the time the relevant samples were taken in 2022, was a license holder with the BBBoC. The BBBoC has not been party to the review conducted by the WBC and has not been provided with any evidence submitted on Benn’s behalf. The BBBoC is aware that the WBC has concluded its own review into at least one of the two positive findings and reached its own decision, published on February 22nd. For clarity, whilst the BBBoC wishes to make clear that it respects the WBC, the WBC is a sanctioning body and not a governing body. The BBBoC was the governing body with whom Benn was licensed at the material time, and as such any alleged anti-doping violation shall be dealt with in accordance with its rules and regulations. The BBBoC has adopted the UK Anti-Doping Rules published by UK Anti-Doping, and those formed part of the rules to which Benn was bound. As such, the decision of the WBC does not affect the ongoing implementation of the BBBoC’s rules (and those of UKAD).The UK Anti-Doping Rules make clear what conduct constitutes an Anti-Doping Rule Violation as defined in those rules (and in the World Anti-Doping Code) and specifically set out the circumstances in which such violations can be committed by way of strict liability."
FEB. 22, 2023: The WBC has issued a statement regarding Conor Benn's 2022 failed doping test. It has decided to restore Benn to the WBC rankings, finding the violation to be inadvertent. Late last year, Benn relinquished his British boxing license rather than dispute the positive test through the British Boxing Board of Control. Instead, he found a much friendlier forum at the WBC, who ruled today that Benn's positive test for banned substances was caused by the large number of eggs he had been eating prior to his scheduled fight vs. Chris Eubank, Jr. (That fight was ultimately cancelled.) Here is the full WBC statement, lightly edited for readability: Conor Benn completed his enrollment process in the WBC Clean Boxing Program (CBP) in February of 2022.  Enrollment is mandatory for all fighters rated in the top 15 by the WBC. Benn was enrolled in the CBP’s out-of-competition anti-doping testing in July 2022, when the collection of his samples took place. On August 23, 2022, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) notified Benn and the WBC that his urine A Sample, collected on July 25, 2022 yielded an adverse analytical finding for Clomiphene and its hydroxymetabolites MI and M2. These are banned substances at all times under the WBC CBP.  Clomiphene is a metabolic modulator which promotes testosterone production and boost testosterone levels while burning fat. 
On August 30, 2022, the WBC notified Benn of the adverse finding and requested information and materials necessary to investigate the circumstances.  The WBC did not receive a substantive response until December 2022. Benn denied at all times the intentional or knowing ingestion of any banned substances. His defense centered on allegations of potential laboratory analysis failures and irregularities in connection with the analysis of his samples and of the results of the samples’ testing. The WBC consulted several experts in anti-doping laboratory analysis, including an expert consultant with over 30 years of experience in WADA and IOC accredited laboratory settings. The WBC concluded that there was absolutely no fault attributable to the laboratory that analyzed the samples. Further, the WBC reaffirms the unquestionable integrity of VADA and the sample collection agencies and laboratories which services VADA uses in connection with the CBP.
It was not until early January 2023, that the WBC Results Management Unit undertook a full, substantive analysis of Benn`s arguments and defenses. On January 26th, that unit held an inquiry session with Benn and his legal team. In early February, Benn’s team for the first time provided a detailed breakdown of Benn’s diet and supplement consumption that could have directly affected the adverse finding. The WBC then availed itself of the services of an expert nutritionist.
The WBC Board of Governors issued a ruling based on: (1) the facts known at the time of the ruling; (2) any extenuating circumstances; (3) WBC rulings in precedential anti-doping violation cases; (4) the unbiased, common-sensical and just analysis and recommendations of the WBC Results Management Unit; and (5) credible and reliable health-related and scientific literature.
The WBC found that: (1) there was no conclusive evidence that Benn engaged in intentional or knowing ingestion of Clomiphene; (2) there were no failures in the procedures related to sample collection, sample analysis, or violations of Benn’s B Sample rights that would justify questioning or invalidating the adverse finding; and (3) Benn’s documented and highly-elevated consumption of eggs during the times relevant to the sample collection, raised a reasonable explanation for the adverse finding.
The WBC Nutrition Committee will work with Benn’s team to design a nutrition program geared to avoid the risk of a future adverse finding caused by nutritional factors. Benn shall be subjected to regular anti-doping testing to monitor the effect of the WBC-ordered nutritional program. The WBC will include Benn in its ratings during the period immediately following the issuance of its ruling. Benn’s position in the WBC Ratings shall be based solely on his merit and the customary factors the WBC Ratings Committee apply to rating boxers.
The WBC will establish a line of communication with WADA regarding the WBC’s concern about Clomiphene as a food contaminant and the potential of false positives caused by ingestion of contaminated food.
​OCT 26, 2022: Disgraced drug cheat Conor Benn relinquished his British boxing license by failing to dispute his positive test for a banned substance. The British Boxing Board of Control confirmed this news in the following statement issued today: "By a notice dated 17th October 2022, Benn was called by the Board of the BBBofC to attend a hearing to deal with allegations of misconduct pursuant to Rule 25.1.1. The hearing took place on 21st October 2022. On the morning of the hearing, Benn voluntarily relinquished his license with the BBBofC. In accordance with its Rules and Regulations, the Board determined the allegations following the hearing at which Benn was legally represented. The allegations of misconduct against Mr. Benn were upheld.
Days before Benn's scheduled British super fight against Chris Eubank, Jr., event promoters Wasserman and Boxing and Matchroom issued a joint statement saying: "We have been made aware that a random anti-doping test for Conor Benn conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association returned an adverse analytical finding for trace amounts of a fertility drug." That fight was cancelled shortly afterwards.
OCT. 6, 2022: This weekend's British super fight between Chris Eubank Jr. and Conor Benn will NOT take place due to Benn's positive test for a banned substance. Here is the cancellation statement from Wasserman Boxing, who promotes Eubank: "After discussions with various parties, we have taken the decision to formally postpone the battle between Chris Eubank Jr. and Conor Benn. It is undeniable that the British Boxing Board of Control's decision to withdraw their sanctioning was procedurally flawed and without due process. That remains a legal issue between the promoters and the Board, which we intend to pursue. However, whilst there are legal routes to facilitate the fight taking place as planned, we do not believe that it is any fighter's interest for those to be pursued at such a late stage, or in the wider interests of the sport. As promoters, we take our obligations and duties very seriously, and a full investigation will now need to take place. We will be making no further comment at this time in News for ticket holder refund will follow."


The British Board of Boxing Control will not allow this weekend's British super fight between Chris Eubank Jr. vs. Conor Benn to take place due to a positive test for a banned substance by Conor Benn. Here is the commission's brief statement: "On the evening of October 4th, the Board of the British Boxing Board of Control Limited resolved that the contest between Chris Eubank Jr. and Conor Benn scheduled to take place on October 8th is prohibited as it is not in the interests of boxing. That was communicated to the boxers and promoters involved on the morning of October 5th."

While it remains possible, thanks to European Union law, that the fight could proceed under the sanction of an alternate commission, such as Luxembourg's, lead promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom said in a tweet on Thursday that he would not take that route: "Let’s see what today brings but to make one thing clear, I will not be promoting this fight with a foreign commission or alternative governing body on Saturday night."
On Wednesday, as the news of the positive test broke, promoters Wasserman and Boxing and Matchroom issued a joint statement on Eubank vs. Benn fight. Here is the release: "We have been made aware that a random anti-doping test for Conor Benn conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association returned an adverse analytical finding for trace amounts of a fertility drug. The B sample has yet to be tested, meaning that no rule violation has been confirmed. Indeed Mr. Benn has not been charged with any rule violation, he is not suspended, and he remains free to fight. Mr. Benn has since passed a doping control test conducted by the UK anti-doping agency, the anti-doping authority to which the British Board of Boxing Control has delegated it’s open control testing for the belt. Mr. Benn has passed all doping control tests conducted by UKAD (the British testing authority) Both fighters have taken medical and legal advice and are aware of all relevant information and they wish to proceed with their bout this Saturday."