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Nevada Athletic Commission needs to consider fundamental changes regarding way it penalizes fighters

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Mickey Bey Jr. (R) in the 2004 Olympic box-offs, had a 30-1 T/E ratio after a Feb. 2 fight (Getty)

Mickey Bey Jr. escaped with virtually no penalty for having voluminous amounts of a banned substance in his system that potentially made him a much more lethal, dangerous boxer.

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. was socked with the second-highest fine ever assessed a boxer in Nevada and given a nine-month suspension because he was discovered to have had marijuana, which most experts believe is not performance-enhancing, in his system, via a urinalysis conducted after his middleweight title loss to Sergio Martinez.

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Julio Cesar Chavez was fined $900,000 for smoking marijuana (AP)

Chavez was fined $900,000 and suspended for nine months for smoking marijuana.

Bey, who violently knocked out Robert Rodriguez in the third round on Feb. 2 in Las Vegas, failed his post-fight drug test that night. He had a 30-1 testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio -- commonly referred to as a T/E ratio -- that was five times the legal limit in Nevada and 7 1/2 times the legal limit in all other states but New York.

On Wednesday, Bey was fined $1,000 and suspended for three months. The suspension, though, amounts to nothing. He was planning all along to fight on May 4, on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Robert Guerrero show, and now can do that.

He hadn't fought twice in three months in more than two years, so the only penalty Bey really incurred was the $1,000 fine.

Now, let that sink in:

• Chavez, who didn't use a performance-enhancing drug, was fined $900,000 and suspended for nine months. He lost at least one fight in that time, a fight that would have paid him at least another $1.5 million, if not more. So, in essence, his penalty jumps to $2.4 million.

• Bey, who did use a performance-enhancing drug that is plaguing combat sports, was fined $1,000 and will, in essence, not be forced to miss a fight.

The five members of the Nevada Athletic Commission -- Bill Brady, Skip Avansino, T.J. Day, Pat Lundvall and Francisco Aguilar -- are the ones who dole out the punishment. Executive director Keith Kizer can recommend, but he has no say in the outcome.

But in defending the penalties to Chavez and Bey, Kizer noted that Chavez is a repeat offender. He also noted the size of the fines are taken as a percentage of the purse. The commission fined Chavez 30 percent of his $3 million purse, so that takes $900,000 out of his account and puts it into the State of Nevada's general fund.

Bey was fined 12.5 percent of his $8,000 purse, so he had to pay the state $1,000. Kizer also noted there were mitigating circumstances surrounding Bey, which we'll get to shortly.

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But that logic is like giving a guy who has gotten two speeding tickets 25 years to life, while giving one convicted of second-degree murder probation and credit for time served.

When dealing with a banned, non-performance-enhancing substance such as marijuana, the commissions have to come up with a flat fee. Why not make the punishment $5,000 and a four-month suspension for first use, $10,000 and a nine-month suspension for second use and a $25,000 fine and a one-year suspension for the third (and succeeding) violations?

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Advertisement for testosterone shots from the Las Vegas Health Center's web page

Martinez was not harmed by Chavez's smoking of marijuana; Rodriguez, though, was most definitely harmed by the extra testosterone -- which, if you don't know, is a steroid -- that Bey had in his system.

Bey, who has had a history of illness and was unable to compete in the 2004 Olympics because of pneumonia, went to the Las Vegas Health Center on Jan. 5. According to the notes of the doctor who saw him, Bey complained of decreased libido, decreased stamina, fatigue and overall malaise.

Under the final assessment, the doctor wrote patient "is aware that performance enhancement is not an option and will be treated with low dosage on consistent basis to help with symptoms."

The Las Vegas Health Center advertises itself as, hardly a surprise, an anti-aging clinic, among other things. It offers $45 testosterone shots, which it advertises on its web site, as well as testosterone replacement therapy and HGH therapy. More boxers and mixed martial arts fighters who train in Las Vegas are going to that clinic.

The commission found the evidence Bey presented from the doctor he saw at the clinic credible and it heavily influenced the light penalty he received.

But what Bey essentially did was self-help. He could have applied to the commission for a therapuetic use exemption (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) had he chosen to do so. That would have required lengthy testimony by his doctor -- not a walk-in clinic that advertises $45 shots of testosterone -- and would not have necessarily been granted.

Even if one assumes that Bey's intentions were honorable, the increased testosterone made him much more of a threat to his opponent. His 30:1 T/E ratio was one of the highest ever recorded in Nevada. The normal T/E ratio for a 29-year-old male such as Bey is between 0.7:1 and 1:1.

The Nevada commission completely blew the way it handled the case. Justice was not done in either fighter's case.

The commission needs quickly to revamp its procedures in marijuana cases. It's a complete and utter joke to fine someone $900,000 for smoking a joint, even if the person was arrogant like Chavez. And fining Bey so lightly unquestionably opened a loophole other fighters are sure to try to walk through. If they can get testosterone shots for $45 and not have to worry about a heavy fine, why not try it?

Nevada needs to do something, and quickly, to fix this issue.

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The Marijuana Policy Project's billboard in Las Vegas protesting Julio Cesar Chavez's fine

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