By Mark Gannon
September 3rd 2003 the offices of the Bay Area Co-operitive Balco in Burlingame California we’re raided by federal agents. The founder of Balco Victor Conte was implicated in probably the biggest scandal involving Performance enhancing drugs and high performance athletes the USA had ever seen. Ensuing revelations and charges led to Conte serving Jail time for his role in the distribution of Steroids and other felonies with a total of 42 indictments. Conte pleaded guilty to two and served 4 months in Prison.
Conte has since gone on to create the SNAC Nutrition Business which is a wholesale distributor of nutritional supplements primarily ZMA but it’s also a training center which is used by over two dozen Professional Boxers many well known as they prepare for Championship fights and Olympic Competition.
(Per Sports illustrated)
“Conte is one of the great, recent biomedical autodidacts,” says Michael Joyner, an anesthesiologist, physician-researcher, and expert in human performance at the Mayo Clinic. “He got into supplements and nutrition at a time when information was exploding and available on the web. It was a perfect time for ‘innovative’ ideas about dosing, schedules and mixing and matching commercial and black market compounds. With an M.D., if he hadn’t gone in the direction that he did, he could have run a big pharma company.”
So why did Conte involve himself in the Murky business of Ped distribution?
“Why did I do it?” says Conte, looking across the chess set that Chambers gave him, with pieces the size of ballpark bobblehead dolls. “It had nothing to do with money. I liked being in the trenches with the athletes and with the science. And these athletes, it’s not like they met me and I introduced them to drugs. They were always using drugs, but they were using them out of the trunk of cars in parking lots. That was my rationalization. I’m not proud that I decided to join that culture.”
Conte is currently assisting the Luis Ortiz Camp for his upcoming WBC Heavyweight title challenge against Deontay Wilder on March 3rd. The fight was originally scheduled for last November but Ortiz failed a VADA test and not for the first time. Wilder understandably has been very outspoken on the matter.
“You cheated and that’s bottom line,” the 32-year-old Alabaman continued. “It’s a touchy subject because I’ve been a clean fighter all my life. I never even thought about even taking no drugs or put in my body to make my body do something that it’s not normally supposed to do. I’m a clean fighter. I’m a fair fighter. I bring what I bring and I give you results.”
Conte has since responded to Wilder
”He (Wilder) seems to know about as much about anti-doping as I know about skydiving and I am afraid of heights.”
”I’ve been assisting the Ortiz camp by helping trainer Herman Caicedo with nutrition and training protocols. In fact, I have tested Ortiz’s blood profile on two different dates and have not seen any of the markers that would suggest any form of drug use.”
”Bottom line. I think Luis Ortiz is a clean athlete and everybody needs to put this ‘once a cheat, always cheat’ stuff aside. I hope it doesn’t become a distraction or sideshow this week and that everyone can focus upon a great fight that is about to happen. My prediction is Luis Ortiz will do a great job and become the new heavyweight champion of the world.”
They say everybody deserves second chances, and that’s fair enough, but personally how I feel about Victor Conte’s involvement with Professional Boxing is probably better left out of print.