Unfortunately the controversy surrounding UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre’s win over BJ Penn this past Saturday at UFC 94 refuses to go away. Although GSP thoroughly dominated Penn through all four rounds of their matchup, Penn’s camp intends to file a formal complaint against St-Pierre and his cornermen for illegally applying Vasoline to the 170-pound champion’s back in between rounds.
“We are not trying to make excuses, but the NSAC needs to protect the fighters,” Jay Dee Penn told Sherdog.com. “They never notified us or completely wiped his back with water and towels.”
At the UFC 94 post-fight press conference, president Dana White stated that if that sort of behavior was indeed occurring in St-Pierre’s corner, the cornmen involved with the violation should have their license suspended.
In an interview with InsideFighting.com, Penn’s head coach, Rudy Valentino, claimed that GSP used similar tactics when the two first collided back in 2006. Valentino also claims that former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra alleged St-Pierre did the same thing in their rematch at UFC 83 last April.
Yesterday, St-Pierre’s trainer Greg Jackson clarified exactly what was going on in between rounds. He states that Muay Thai trainer Phil Nurse was replicating “witch doctor” strategies that the welterweight champion requested.
“So in between rounds, (Steve Friend) had this little drill that you do – and Phil Nurse is the one who knows how to do it – he showed Phil, and this is what Georges wanted, so we did that,” Jackson told MMAWeekly.com. “But this is why we were doing it. He rubbed your back and tapped your chest; I don’t know exactly how it works. But anyways, what that’s supposed to do is get your energy in line, or motivated or whatever. So in between rounds, we had Phil Nurse do that.”
Steven Friend is a “witch doctor” that St-Pierre met when he first moved his training down to Jackson’s Submission Fighting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Friend has worked with many other MMA fighters, including former UFC champions Randy Couture and Matt Hughes.
Although it is highly unlikely that the Vasoline played a significant role in the outcome of the bout, the controversy is certainly something that St-Pierre, the sport and the UFC didn’t want.