There was a time when I personally felt that drug testing athletes was imperative and that taking performance enhancing drugs was the largest sin possible in combat sports. The years have helped to erode those beliefs, especially when young, promising athletes, who often times are paid poorly for their sacrifices, are heavily fined and prevented from making a living for looking to science to help them prepare for their fights. Perhaps if there were common-sense punishments and oversight it would make a lot more sense, but there isn’t and to say that testing is inconsistent is to be kind.
The latest case is Ismael Lazaar, who apparently failed a drug test that was administered around the time of his GLORY 41 fight with Rico Verhoeven on May 20th, 2017. According to SportsOfTheDay, GLORY was informed of a drug test failure on July 24th of last year. The timeline in this document here shows that Lazaar was informed in August of the failure and was given a chance to defend himself in October. A certified letter was sent to Lazaar by officials allowing him to defend himself, but they never received a response. This set the wheels in motion and by December they had come to the conclusion.
Days before Lazaar was set to fight Luis Tavares in Enfusion, he was denied a license due to the drug test failure, but believed that it was an error. It wasn’t. Now, it turns out, the Dutch commission has suspended Lazaar for four years and fined him 525 euro. He’ll be allowed to compete again on July 24th, 2021. He tested positive for stanozololol, oxandrolone and 18-noroxandrolone.
Since he did not submit a reply to the officials, he is unable to have his sentence reduced.
What’s glaring is that Mohammed Jaraya found himself with a two-year ban after an incident last year where he attacked a judge at ringside after a loss. It appears that signing with GLORY, changing gyms and a face-to-face apology was enough to get his sentence shortened, yet a physical assault by a professional athlete on an official is somehow seen as a lesser offense to taking banned substances. The original sentence for very clearly, on camera, assaulting a judge was a mere two years in comparison to Lazaar’s suspension for failing a drug test.
There are a wealth of questions in the wake of this, like if Lazaar knew and lied about knowing, what that says about him. If not, who did know? Was it his management? His gym? A family member? There was a certified letter. There was also confusion because when this story first surfaced in February, a number of contacts within GLORY claimed to know nothing about the failure and were just as confused as everyone else.
If fighters are going to have their careers taken from them in their prime then the involved official governing bodies need to ensure crystal-clear communication. Fighters can and will be held responsible in accordance to the contracts that they work under, but the oversight needs to be as clear as humanly possible.