Remember when Georges St-Pierre (pictured) cited “personal issues” when he voluntarily vacated his UFC welterweight title to take a break from mixed martial arts? Well, it appears some of that personal beef is with his employers for leaving him hanging high and dry after he tried to spearhead the valiant charge towards cleaning up MMA.
Heading into November’s UFC 167 shootout with Johny Hendricks, St-Pierre offered to undergo random drug testing with Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) and challenged Hendricks to do the same. However, Hendricks declined and St-Pierre was left doing the pre-fight screening by his lonesome.
UFC president Dana White stated “they both look stupid” for their back-and-forth banter because the Nevada State Athletic Commission was going to drug test each of them, regardless.
In his first media session since announcing his indefinite departure from MMA in December, St-Pierre revealed the UFC’s lack of support behind his desire to enforce stricter drug testing influenced his decision to walk away at the peak of his career.
“It bothered me greatly, it was one of the reasons I decided to step aside,” St-Pierre said Tuesday, according to the Canadian Press. “I tried to change things, and unfortunately, maybe for money reasons, maybe for image, they were not ready to do that,” St-Pierre said. “I tried to [bring about] change in a very diplomatic way and it didn’t work so it’s unfortunate, but I believe it will happen sooner or later.”
UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta, who often plays good cop to Dana White’s bad cop, said he was baffled by St-Pierre’s statements because they are all for cleaning up the sport.
“We’ve made it clear, through presentations at various athletic commissions, that we advocate for the most rigorous drug testing possible,” Fertitta told ESPN.com. “We’ve actually advocated for harsher penalties for PEDs. Maybe Georges didn’t understand the level of drug testing Nevada was doing. They are the ultimate authority that handles drug testing, medicals and everything else, and they are very capable.
“Obviously, we know there are some athletes that do cheat, but we are catching them. Hopefully, because the penalties for being caught have gone to the extent they have — monetary, suspensions, revocations of licenses – it’s convincing these guys it’s not worth it.”
St-Pierre added that there were other fighters who want to speak out about the performance-enhancing drug epidemic in MMA, but are afraid to be blackballed because of the “monopoly” the UFC holds on the sport. However, now that GSP is more than happy to leave the game in his rear-view mirror, he seems more than willing to speak on their behalf.
GSP owns a 25-2 professional record. The 32-year-old is the UFC’s most decorated welterweight champion having defended his throne nine consecutive times, becoming their biggest pay-per-view draw along the way.