After heavyweight Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller failed multiple drug tests for a variety of banned substances – HGH, EPO and GW1516 — that knocked him out of a multi-million dollar shot at unified heavyweight world titleholder Anthony Joshua in June 2019, Miller’s career was in limbo.
But Top Rank chairman Bob Arum decided to give him another chance, and after much difficulty finalizing the deal — one Arum nearly walked away from in January — he signed Miller even over the objection of others at the company.
So, when Miller tested positive yet again, for the banned substance GW1516, ahead of his first fight under the Top Rank deal, which was scheduled to headline an ESPN-televised card on July 9 against Jerry Forrest inside the conference center of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Arum said he was rather surprised and “disgusted.”
Miller was suspended for two years on Wednesday by the Nevada State Athletic Commission because it was the third fight around which he had tested positive for a banned substance. He also was suspended in 2014 due to testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug related to a kickboxing match in California and then the multiple failed drug tests that killed his chances to fight Joshua.
During a recent interview with BoxingScene, Arum did not hold back when explaining his thoughts on the situation.
“Not pissed but I just couldn’t believe it,” Arum said to BoxingScene.com. “I mean how the f–king stupid can you be?”
Arum said he has not yet spoken personally with Miller but described his feelings over the situation as “utter disgust based on his stupidity.”
Arum said he and some of his staff plan to speak soon with Miller and his team about the next step. While Miller is suspended for two years, he could be eligible to fight sooner. The suspension is backdated to when he failed the test and he can also have it reduced by six months if he completes a PED treatment program and undergoes random testing (at his cost) administered by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association. That means Miller could be eligible to return in early 2022.
“He’s going to be talking to us. He wanted to fly to (Las) Vegas to meet with us but with the Covid I don’t want any people in the office,” Arum said. “So we’re gonna do a Zoom call as soon as next week about what we want to do with him in the future, if anything; what he wants to do, discuss the whole thing.”
Miller has claimed his latest drug test failure was the result of GW1516 being in Black Ant, a sex stimulant pill that he claims to have taken more than a month before the scheduled bout against Forrest.
“I’m not interested in hearing any excuses, if he thought it was a sex drug,” Arum said. “I mean gimme a break. How stupid can you be? Even if he thought he was just using it for sex you don’t put anything in your body that has a drug in it without getting it approved.”
Arum said he would talk to Top Rank president Todd duBoef and vice president Carl Moretti to get their opinions about what to do with Miller.
“I need to talk to Carl and Todd, but at this point I haven’t really given it much thought,” Arum said.
One thing Arum did say, however, was that if Miller, 32, of Brooklyn, New York, attempted to fight overseas, where a suspension in the United States would not necessarily be honored, he would not allow it.
“I wouldn’t be a party to it and certainly ESPN wouldn’t televise it,” Arum said.
Arum said he was not sure what kind of future Miller might have in boxing after this latest drug test failure and suspension.
“You can’t tell him lights out, pack ‘em up. There always is a future. How bright the future is remains to be seen,” Arum said. “He obviously has had a tremendously adverse impact on his professional boxing career. There’s no question about it. But it is what it is.”
Miller (23-0-1, 20 KOs) has not fought since he knocked out Bogdan Dinu in the fourth round on Nov. 18, 2018.
Dan Rafael was ESPN.com’s senior boxing writer for fifteen years, and covered the sport for five years at USA Today. He was the 2013 BWAA Nat Fleischer Award winner for excellence in boxing journalism.