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‘Highly-elevated consumption of eggs’ blamed for fighters’ PED test failure

Conor Benn was cleared by the WBC.

Conor Benn when he beat Chris Van Heerden.
Conor Benn was supposed to fight Chris Eubank Jr. last year.
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

One of the more farcical events to take place around combat sports last year was the collapse of Chris Eubank Jr. vs. Conor Benn. That fight, which would have been one of the biggest events in the British boxing calendar, fell apart after Benn tested positive for the banned substance clomiphene on October 6, two days before the fight was scheduled.

After that result, collected by VADA, became public, the British Boxing Board of Control announced that Eubank Jr. vs. Benn was prohibited from taking place. Despite this declaration, the promoters of the event (Matchroom Sport) suggested they were going to hold the event anyway.

However, with time running out before the event was due to kick off, it was announced that the fight (and the entire event) was cancelled.

Benn was stripped from the WBC rankings after the cancellation. However, this week he was reinstated in the rankings after the WBC announced that a “highly-elevated consumption of eggs” was a “reasonable explanation” for Benn testing positive for clomiphene.

Here’s the WBC’s ruling in full (via SkySports).

“The WBC found that: (1) there was no conclusive evidence that Mr 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 Mr Benn’s B Sample rights that would justify questioning or invalidating the adverse finding; and (3) Mr 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.”

WBC have also noted that Benn has been enrolled in their ‘clean boxing program’ since February 2022.

Despite being cleared by the WBC, Benn is still being investigated by the UK Anti-Doping and the BBBoC. While those investigations are underway Benn can not be licensed to fight in the UK.

Clomiphene is a popular fertility drug, due to its ability to induce ovulation. However it can also be used to boost testosterone. Because of its testosterone enhancing ability it has been placed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list (both in and out of competition).

Clomiphene is also used in the poultry industry to make hens produce more eggs.

In 2020 WADA conducted a study into whether eggs could cause drug test failures for clomiphene. The findings of that study showed that it was possible for clomiphene dosed chickens to produce eggs that contain trace amounts of the substance. Furthermore the study showed that it was possible to detect clomiphene in the urine of people who had eaten those eggs.

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