Heavyweight world titleholder Deontay Wilder is beside himself in the wake of his opponent, Luis "King Kong" Ortiz, testing positive for two banned diuretics in the lead-up to their Nov. 4 fight.
The bout, one of the most significant of the year and due to headline a Showtime-televised card at Barclays Center in New York, was thrown into limbo -- but likely off -- when Ortiz's random Sept. 22 urine test conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association came back on Thursday night positive for the banned diuretics chlorothiazide and hydrochlorothiazide, which are used to treat high blood pressure but also can be used as masking agents for steroid use.
Ortiz tested positive for the banned steroid Nandrolone following a 2014 interim world title fight in Las Vegas and was fined and suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. He is the third Wilder opponent in the past 18 months to fail a drug test in the lead-up to a fight with him. The other two fights were called off.
Ortiz's camp claimed that Ortiz takes medication to regulate his blood pressure. However, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, Ortiz did not disclose that he was taking the medication on his VADA paperwork where it asks specifically for a list of substances being taken. Ortiz also did not ask VADA for a therapeutic use exemption, multiple sources told ESPN.
Wilder, sounding nearly despondent, went off on Ortiz in a series of videos he posted to his Instagram account over the weekend.
"M-----f----- sitting up here lying, like blood pressure medicine. And first off, you got to tell VADA what you on, first off," Wilder said in a video. "If it was that serious, why wouldn't you tell them that? Why wouldn't you tell VADA that you was on blood pressure medicine? That's the first step. Why would that be a big secret? When they are finished taking a blood sample or a urine sample, you have on the form, you have an opportunity to write down what all you're taking, what all you're on. Why wasn't that part filled out? Because y'all are f---ing liars. Y'all are f---ing liars, and you're scared."
While it is likely Ortiz will be dumped from the fight and face another suspension, the card will go on, promoter Lou DiBella and Showtime both told ESPN on Monday.
"There's going be a show at the Barclays Center, and Deontay Wilder is going to defend his title," DiBella said. "[Welterweight contender] Shawn Porter is still going to fight Adrian Granados in what I think is a terrific action fight on the undercard; Sergey Lipinets will have the opportunity to win a [vacant junior welterweight] world title against a good contender [Akihiro Kondo]; and [women's standout] Amanda Serrano is going to fight on the card.
"As for Deontay's opponent, I think we'll have everything resolved in the next 48 hours, but the show will go on."
Wilder and DiBella are awaiting a ruling on the matter from the WBC, which sanctions the world title Wilder holds, and the New York State Athletic Commission.
"Details are still being worked out, but we fully expect our 'Showtime Championship Boxing' event to proceed on Nov. 4," Showtime spokesman Chris DeBlasio said.
Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs), 31, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is due to make his sixth title defense. Tired of the enormous criticism directed toward him for a soft schedule, Wilder pleaded with his team to make the fight with the dangerous Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs), 38, a power-punching southpaw Cuban defector fighting out of Miami, to quiet the critics who have said he is avoiding quality opposition -- although he signed to fight Alexander Povetkin only to have him fail a drug test nine days before Wilder was scheduled to fight him on his home turf in Moscow last year.
With a mandatory defense due against former titlist Bermane Stiverne, from whom Wilder won the belt by lopsided decision in 2015, he made a deal with Stiverne and his promoter, Don King, to pay them $675,000 to step aside to allow him to fight Ortiz first.
Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs) is scheduled to fight former title challenger Dominic Breazeale (18-1, 16 KOs) on the undercard, but he might move into the main event to satisfy the mandatory defense assuming Ortiz is dropped.
"This has affected Deontay in a big way," DiBella said. "It's messed him up. You just tell him it's no fault of yours. This is a guy who was willing to go to Russia to fight 'PEDvetkin' on his home turf and he proved to be the cheater he's consistently proven himself to be. We didn't send ourselves a VADA letter or cause this to happen. I told Deontay to believe in yourself, none of this is your fault. Just trust that everything will work out for the best."
But Wilder, who said he is continuing to train, is still angry and emotional.
"All you all should be scared of me, though," Wilder said in his video. "All y'all should be, because I'm the devil of this division. All y'all should be scared of me. And then lying to these people, like it's blood pressure medicine. Man, get the f--- outta here."
When the fight was initially announced at a news conference in New York, Ortiz did not make it, claiming weather grounded his flight. Wilder said he doesn't buy it.
"You're not on blood pressure medicine. You was just at the hospital, putting IVs in your system, trying to flush this s---. That's why you didn't make it to the press conference [on Sept. 20]. We was on it," Wilder said. "And I keep telling these fighters, if you're gonna take something and put something in your ... system, we gonna know. I got eyes and ears everywhere. I got friends all over the world, man. I know who's doing it. ... I'm not gonna call y'all name out for various reasons. But trust me, I know. ... Man, I'm so frustrated right now. It's just crazy."