Heavyweight contender Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller, who was already denied a boxing license earlier this week in New York for a world title fight because of a positive test for a banned substance, has failed a second and third test for other banned substances, sources with knowledge of the test results told ESPN on Friday.
The results from a blood sample collected from Miller by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association on March 31 came to light Friday and were positive for human growth hormone (HGH), which is on the World Anti-Doping Agency banned list.
A urine sample also collected on March 31 returned positive results for two additional banned substances later on Friday: EPO, which increases the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood, which would help a fighter from showing fatigue late in a fight, and GW1516, which an athlete might use to assist in fat loss or as an endurance booster.
"Salita Promotions and Greg Cohen Promotions are very disappointed in these findings and feel awful fight fans will be deprived of what would have been a great fight," Dmitriy Salita and Greg Cohen, Miller's co-promoters, told ESPN in a joint statement following the revelation of the positive test. "It's a terrible outcome and unfortunate situation for all parties involved."
On Tuesday, results from a urine sample Miller provided to VADA on March 20 also tested positive for the banned substance GW1516. On Wednesday, the New York State Athletic Commission denied Miller a boxing license, all but ending his hope of being able to challenge unified heavyweight world titlist Anthony Joshua on June 1 on DAZN at Madison Square Garden in New York.
On Friday night, Miller posted a video to social media in which he essentially admitted to performance-enhancing drug use and apologized.
"This is your boy 'Big Baby' Miller here," an emotional Miller said. "A lot can be said right now. I gonna get straight to the point. I messed up. I messed up. I made a bad call. A lot of ways to handle a situation, I handled it wrongly and I'm paying the price for it. Missed out on is a big opportunity, and I'm hurtin' on the inside. My heart is bleeding right now. I hurt my family, my friends, my team, my supporters. But I'm gonna own up to it. I'm gonna deal with it, I'm gonna correct it, and I'm gonna come back better. "I'm humbled by the experience. I understand how to handle certain things. I'm gonna leave it at that. I love you guys and I appreciate you guys out there, and as fighters we go through a lot and I don't want to make it a bad name for ourselves. It's time to do right, and get right. So I thank you guys."
Miller (23-0-1, 20 KOs), 30, of Brooklyn, New York, has asked for the B sample from the March 20 test to be tested, which it is scheduled to be on April 24 but it remains to be seen if it still will given Miller's admission.
Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, who is looking for a new opponent to challenge Joshua, was incredulous at the latest positive test, especially since it was Miller who accused Joshua of using PEDs during the promotional tour for the fight in February.
"To be honest I can't believe it. You always want to give an athlete the benefit of the doubt, but this leaves no doubt," Hearn told ESPN. "It worries me that fighters feel the only way they can beat AJ is by taking banned substances. One thing we know is Miller is out. AJ's new opponent for June 1 will be announced next week. Clean fighters only need apply."
Hearn has been talking to various candidates to replace Miller to challenge Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs), 29, the British superstar, who is due to make his United States debut and his seventh title defense.
HGH, which is usually given by injection, is used by athletes to increase lean muscle mass and also to help in recovery. It is not detectable by a urine test, but blood testing has been developed in recent years to find it. It is also a substance that typically remains in humans for only about 24 hours.
After the first positive test result, Miller claimed he had not knowingly taken a banned substance.
"I am absolutely devastated upon hearing the news my boxing license has been [denied] in NY State and I will be vigorously appealing this decision," Miller wrote on social media earlier this week. "I have NEVER knowingly taken any banned substance and when I found out the news [Tuesday] night I was totally shocked. My team and I stand for integrity, decency & honesty and together we will stand to fight this with everything we have!"
The positive test for HGH is the third positive test of Miller's combat sports career. In 2014, when he was participating in Glory kickboxing, he tested positive in a urine sample for the banned substance methylhexaneamine after a decision loss to Mirko Cro Cop. The California State Athletic Commission suspended Miller for nine months and fined him $2,500.
Getting dumped from the fight with Joshua will cost Miller a career-high purse of $4.875 million. He was also due to earn additional money from a percentage of the pay-per-view profits from the fight on Sky Sports Box Office in the United Kingdom. In addition, Miller will lose out on at least another $3 million because his deal with DAZN called for two $1.5 million comeback fights in the event of a loss to Joshua. The biggest purse of Miller's career was a little over $500,000 for his fourth-round knockout of Bogdan Dinu on Nov. 17.