OKLAHOMA CITY — Tom Zbikowski’s manager said Tuesday the Baltimore Ravens safety is appealing a positive drug test administered after a weekend boxing match in Oklahoma.
Zbikowski took another test Tuesday at a Chicago lab that came back negative, said his manager, Mike Joyce, who hopes the Chickasaw Nation Gaming Commission overturns a 45-day suspension leveled against his client.
“We pray that they act in an expedited manner,” Joyce told The Associated Press. “We are going to try to keep fighting, to see if we can get the deal overturned.”
Zbikowski fought Saturday at the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville in far southern Oklahoma, knocking out Blake Warner of Oklahoma City in the first round and improving his pro record to 4-0. The casino is owned by an American Indian tribe, the Chickasaw Nation.
After the second boxing card ever held at the casino, 16 fighters underwent drug tests and five of them came back positive. Haskell Alexander, the deputy commissioner of the Chickasaw Nation Gaming Commission, suspended those fighters for 45 days.
Joyce said he’s been told Zbikowski tested positive for traces of THC, a substance found in marijuana. That test result caught those connected with Zbikowski off guard, including Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum, the CEO of Top Rank Boxing, which promotes Zbikowski.
“Anybody could have a trace (of THC),” Arum said. “If you’re in a railroad station or an airport and somebody is smoking a joint and you walk by, you can have a trace. Boxing commissions, knowing that, have elevated the level (of testing) for marijuana so that it doesn’t pick up the traces.
“But this one did. I know Tommy doesn’t smoke.”
Zbikowski has undergone numerous tests for banned substances through the years and has never before tested positive, Joyce said.
Jeff Keel, the general counsel for the tribe’s Office of the Gaming Commissioner, told Top Rank officials in an email sent Tuesday morning that if the five fighters who tested positive Saturday “will submit to us a clean drug test in the next couple of days we will lift their suspensions.”
That’s what Zbikowski did Tuesday, Joyce said.
“We sent it back to the tribal commission, so they can restore the license,” Joyce said.
Chickasaw Nation Gaming Commissioner Matthew Morgan said all boxers who fight in tribal facilities are told “they are subject to random drug testing during events in our jurisdiction.” He said the tribe’s policies and procedures “mirror those of the Oklahoma Professional Boxing Commission and our third-party inspectors perform the same testing functions” as they do for the state commission.
Morgan said fighters “may submit subsequent drug test results” to the tribal commission and that he will make the final determination.
Lee Samuels, a publicist for Top Rank, said Zbikowski’s next fight is scheduled for June 4 in Los Angeles at the Staples Center.
Zbikowski, a former Notre Dame star, went 75-15 as an amateur boxer. He turned pro before his senior season at Notre Dame and won his first pro bout at Madison Square Garden in New York in June 2006. He soon decided to focus on the NFL and the Ravens picked him in the third round of the 2008 draft. He’s made 10 starts in 39 NFL games.