Former super middleweight world titleholder Lucian Bute will be allowed to resume his career after getting off with time served and a $50,000 fine. He reached a settlement on Friday with the Washington, D.C. Boxing and Wrestling Commission on his failed drug test.
On April 30, at the DC Armory, Montreal's Bute challenged 168-pound titleholder Badou Jack. Bute was awarded a majority draw in a fight most thought Jack clearly won. After the fight, Bute's urine sample tested positive for the banned substance ostarine (also called enobosarm), which is supposed to increase stamina and recovery ability. It is a substance that has been on the World Anti-Doping Agency banned list since 2008.
Bute denied having knowingly taken a banned substance. The Washington commission, following its investigation, went along with Bute's assertion that he ingested the substance due to contamination of nutritional supplements prescribed by Bute's conditioning trainer and created by a laboratory in California.
According to the terms of the settlement, announced by Bute promoter Yvon Michel and confirmed to ESPN by the Washington, D.C. commission, Bute was suspended for six months. But that suspension is retroactive to the date of the positive test, May 6, which means it expired earlier this month. Bute, who has earned millions in his career, also agreed to contribute $50,000 to the WBC's Clean Boxing Program with the money earmarked to go toward drug-testing costs for future events in Washington, D.C.
"The athletic commission therefore agrees to reject the disputed case immediately with the compromise reached between the parties and does not in any way consider that this compromise constitutes an admission on the part of Lucian Bute of the alleged facts or circumstances," Michel said in a statement.
Michel said Bute would pay the $50,000 "without delay" and that "he may now box at the place and time of his choice right now. The case is now permanently closed."
The Washington commission declined to comment but said it planned to release a statement Monday. However, commission chairman Adam Weers told ESPN that the commission would change the result of the fight. It will become either a no decision or a disqualification loss for Bute, Weers said.
"I am extremely happy that everything is now over," Bute said in a statement.
Bute went on to thank the many who have supported him "during these dark and painful hours of my life. I would also like to thank the members of the athletic commission of the District of Columbia and its chairman, Mr. Adam Weers, for listening and understanding, as well as WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman for giving me the benefit of the doubt and keeping me in the rankings of the best super middleweight challengers."
Bute said he has continued to train during the months since the positive test and that he is "more determined than ever to take the road back to regaining" his world title.
"I am surrounded by the best team to guide me," Bute said. "I have, more than ever, the enthusiasm and will to fight. I have a lot of years ahead of me, and I cannot wait to get back into the ring in early 2017."
The 36-year-old Bute (32-3-1, 25 KOs, pending the eventual record change) held a super middleweight world title from 2007 to 2012 and made nine successful defenses. But he is 2-3-1 in his past six fights (before the result of the fight with Jack is changed).