THE Nevada State Athletic Commission yesterday hit Ali "Rush Hour" Funeka where it hurts most - deep in his pockets.
The commission regulates all contests and exhibitions of unarmed combat within the US state of Nevada, including licensure and supervision of promoters, boxers, kickboxers, mixed martial arts fighters, seconds, ring officials, managers and matchmakers.
The commission yesterday suspended Funeka for a positive drug test in April. It suspended him for nine months and fined him $35000 (R271000).
It also ordered Funeka to return the amount of $15625 (R121000) that he received for making the required weight limit for the fight, after Joan Guzman from the Dominican Republic weighed in about 4kg over. Funeka is reported to have earned $105000 (R812000) for the fight, which took place in Las Vegas on March 27.
They fought for the vacant IBF junior lightweight title. Funeka lost via a split points decision but the title remained vacant because of Guzman's failure to make the weight limit.
The 32-year-old Mdantsane fighter tested positive for a banned diuretic. Apparently fighters often use diuretics to increase their rate of urination, which helps them to lose weight. Butityi Konki, whose company BK Sports manages Funeka, forwarded a letter to Sowetan from BK Sports doctor Mark Blumberg to Funeka's US promoter Cedric Kushner, which clarified the issue.
Lem Satterfield quoted Kushner as saying in BoxingScene: "I feel terrible for him, but if you break the rules, you break the rules - even though you do so unknowingly. Now he (has to) return a lot of the money that he made, which adds up to about a third of his purse."